Grilled Pizza

Photo by Michelle Thompson

Photo by Michelle Thompson

It's been here all along, and we all know there is nothing better than a slice. Hot or cold, thick or thin, with beer or orange juice (don't knock it till you try it)-pizza is arguably the best comfort food out there. Tomorrow, to celebrate all our farmers at Main Street and beyond, we will have a little extra fun down at the market for National Farmers Market Week. Thanks to our awesome vendor, Bread and Butter, we will be taking our pizza dough to the grill, with some other farmer donated toppings that make a pie that is crispy, a bit soft on the inside, a bit of char in all the right places. My advice is to keep a close watch on it, it doesn't take very long at all to cook the crust. The toppings need to be thin and precooked/sauteed. You can go veggie lovers with local peppers, squash, onions, and basil. Or meat lovers with local sausage, ham, bacon, or ground beef. Or try a fig/goat cheese/caramelized onion pizza. Make your own sauce or if you must buy it, but the local flavors really shine in this pizza. You could be eating your pizza from dough to chewy goodness in about 10 minutes flat. Easy as pie.

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Makes 4 thin, smallish pizzas

  • 1 fully risen pizza dough (below) 
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 generous cup prepared tomato sauce 
  • 8 ounces aged mozzarella (sold in plastic, not water) (this amount is light on the cheese, use more if that’s your preference)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A few leaves of fresh basil, torn or sliced

Heat your grill over medium-high. 

Divide your dough into four quarters. Use your hands to gently stretch it into a thinner blob — it doesn’t need to be round — then lay it on a plate where you can stretch it further. We’re looking for a thin dough but it doesn’t need to be paper-thin or it might get too cracker-like once cooked. For this reason, I absolutely prefer hand-stretched over rolling pin-rolled for grilled pizza. You want an uneven, hand-stretched, thinness with some thicker spots. Repeat with other three quarters.
Brush tops of each thinly with olive oil. Place doughs oil-side-down on the grill (it will not fall through, promise) and cook for just a minute or two, until lightly browned underneath but still very doughy and soft on top. While they’re cooking, brush the tops of the doughs lightly with olive oil.
Once undersides are lightly cooked, remove doughs from grill and place cooked-side-up on a large tray. Thinly coat each cooked top with prepared sauce, then scatter with cheese. I like to season my pizzas at this point with a little salt and pepper before cooking them.
Slide each pizza back onto the grill and cook, lid down, until undersides are browned with a tiny char spot or two, and cheese has melted. If you abhor a pale pizza top, you could run these under your oven’s broiler for a minute for a toastier lid, but we rarely bother as the whole point is to cook and eat outside. Finish with fresh basil and eat immediately.

A Couldn't-Be-Simpler Pizza Dough
TIME: 2 HOURS      
  -2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose or bread flour, feel free to swap out some (I do 1/3) with whole wheat flour
  -1 1/4 teaspoons (half a packet) instant or active dry yeast
  -a heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  -3/4 cup room temperature water

ix everything together in a big bowl with a spoon. It’s going to be craggy and messy. Get your hands in there and knead the dough together into a single, even mass, about 1 minute. If you’ve used whole wheat flour, I recommend 2 to 3 minutes of kneading, however, it helps soften it up faster. Place in a covered bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 2 hours.

Heather Cross