Monday, June 11, 2012

Grilled Pizza with Herb Goat Cheese and Veggies

Grilling is one of summer's true pleasures, but truth be told, there are only so many burgers one can eat. Enter.. grilled pizza!

Just like long, lazy summer nights, grilled pizza is low maintenance and immensely enjoyable! I think it's even more simple and flavorful than oven-made pizza! Don't worry, the dough won’t fall down between the grill grates, and I happen to think the lovely smokiness of the grill mimics the flavors imparted by a wood-fired oven. For excellent pizza, you want hot cooking temperatures, in the 500°F range, and while nobody wants to crank their oven that high in the summer, grills definitely get that hot. 

Grilled pizza works as a great appetizer or main dish for outdoor summer parties where you're looking to beat the "burger blah" that's sure to descend on your palate sometime between May and September. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to toppings. Some popular favorites are mozzarella, chopped rosemary, olives, sun dried tomatoes, pepperoni, eggplant, chicken, mixed veggies, etc. 

For my grilled pizza this week, I decided to pick up a package of my favorite herb goat cheese and top it with diced, leftover grilled veggies from another weekend barbeque. See, grilled pizza can be great for leftovers, too! If I haven't convinced you to try it yet, check out the simple 5-step recipe below!

A batch of your favorite pizza dough -- my favorite is Trader Joe's Whole Wheat dough!
Corn meal
Olive oil
A hot grill (gas or charcoal) with an indirect heat area off to one side.
Olive oil spray for the grill grate
Grill utensils i.e. tongs, etc.
All of your toppings, ready to go 

1. Roll/stretch out your pizza dough on a surface covered in corn meal. Don’t be too concerned with the shape or regularity of thickness; it’s supposed to be rustic! Paint each side of the dough with about a teaspoon of olive oil. 
2. Once the grill is hot (you should be able to hold your hand over it for no more than 2 seconds), spray it with the olive oil spray.
3. Pick up the disc of dough, give it a final bit of stretching if needed, and then lay it on the grill. Let cook for about 2 minutes.
4. With tongs, check to see how the bottom is doing; you are looking for a nice golden brown color with maybe a bit of char here and there.  Spin the crust if you need to for even cooking.  The top will puff and bubble up -- this is a good sign!
5. When golden-browness is achieved, take the pizza dough off the grill and put it on your prep surface,  browned part facing up. Apply your toppings of choice, keeping a “less is more” philosophy to avoid sogginess, and return to the cooler part of the grill. It is helpful to have a pizza peel, cookie sheet or large spatula for sliding it back onto the hot grill. Shut the lid, and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is browned and the toppings are hot/bubbly.  Let rest a few minutes, slice, (pour yourself a nice glass of wine) and enjoy!


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