September is finally here! Which means two things: It's finally not 100 degrees out every day, and the farmer's markets are full of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.
Although we do live in a tiny apartment with a tiny kitchen, we also happen to live in the basement of a rowhouse with a beautiful back patio. And with a little TLC and a lot of weeding, it is now the perfect place for late summer grilling parties. So last weekend we decided to christen our patio by grilling pizza.
Now for some reason, I have bad luck with pizza. I mean, my pizza always tastes good, but it usually sticks to something, or crumples when I try to get it onto the pizza stone, or loses toppings on the bottom of the oven, or sets off the fire alarm. Or all of the above. So you can imagine my husband's skepticism when I suggest we try pizza on the grill.
But it actually turned out to be so easy, and fun, that his comments turned from a begrudging "ok, I'll help you grill pizza" to "look at the pizza I grilled!" But hey, if we get to eat something this good, I'll take that any day ;).
Our favorite pizza is the classic Pizza Margherita, so we decided to try it with the cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves from my garden. It was amazing:
Grilled Pizza Margherita
one recipe no-rise pizza dough, below
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
15-20 fresh basil leaves
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
The key to good grilled pizza is to make it quickly. You'll want to set all of your ingredients on platters by the grill so that you can top your pizza quickly while it is on the grill.
1. Heat the grill. It should be pretty hot, and you will want to cook the pizza directly over the heat.
2. Roll pizza dough into thin circles, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. I like to use my hands, as this stretches the dough better, but you can also use a rolling pin. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil, and set on a platter.
3. Prepare toppings. Arrange the dough, toppings, and any utensils you need close to your grill.
4. When your grill is hot, gently place rolled out dough directly onto the grate. This take some practice if you are using your hands, as you can see from our slightly crooked pizza. You could also use a pizza paddle.
5. Grill for 2-3 minutes, checking the bottom frequently. It chars really fast! You'll want some char, but not an entirely blackened pizza.
6. Flip pizza over and quickly spread out your toppings. Don't pile them very high, or the pizza won't cook well. Place the lid on the grill (this will help melt the cheese), and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Again, check the bottom frequently!
It takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of it, but hey, the pizza tastes great no matter how you cook it! Cut the pizza with kitchen scissors and serve immediately.
No-Rise Pizza Dough
from the Kitchn (Makes 2 pizzas --- which we pretty much demolished with just two people)
3/4 cup warm water (100 - 110 degrees F)
1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Dissolve yeast into water. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top, and let it set for a few minutes to activate your yeast. It should be bubbly.
2. Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir until combined.
3. Knead dough until soft and elastic. It should not be sticky. Divide in half, cover and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes.
P.S. For a more detailed tutorial on grilling pizza, you may want to check out this blog.