Grilled Pizza 101
Mai and I have had a long standing tradition since she was about 4 years old and saucy enough to tell me what she wanted for dinner…Friday Pizza and Movie Night. After work, dance class, errands, etc, we’d head on over to our favorite pizzeria to pick up a pie and then head on home for Chez Tran Cinema. While I’ve always enjoyed the movie portion of our family night (I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love “Ratatouille”? Even if it is for the 40th time?), I’ve always found myself wondering about the possibilities of the pizza portion of the night.
The convenience of a pizzeria is hard to beat and, let’s face it, if you find a good one, they’re down right delicious. Tasty and easy? It’s a tough combination to trump, but my curious nature always begged the question, “Can’t homemade pizza be just as good and easy?” I’ve attempted several times in the past to try my own hand at homemade pizza…you know, the run to the supermarket to buy a tube of pizza dough, roll it out onto a sheet pan, sauce it, cheese, toppings, and bake. You and I both know that pizza wasn’t launching any culinary careers…heck, I couldn’t even tempt my mother to make the drive out to share some with us. Disappointing? Uhhh, yes…
But, fear not ye pizza lovers, for I made a discovery recently. After pretty much giving up all hope that I would ever soar to any pinnacle of pizza success, I came across Chuck’s recipe for grilled pizza dough. This recipe is about as simplistic as it can get…no double risings for the dough, no punching it down, no bibbity bobbity boo magic required. A single rise dough that’s then cut into half and stretched to form and then grilled. I guess, if you do think about how easy it is, I suppose there IS some magic going on there…
Now folks, if you’ve never had grilled pizza before, please, do it and do it with all manner of haste! This stuff is DELICIOUS. The thin, almost crispy crust cooks up relatively quickly and picks up a pleasing char from the grill. Topped with whatever your heart desires and your pantry provides, it is both a quick meal fix and fun to do as a family activity. The dough can be made the night before and thrown into the fridge after it has doubled in bulk…making getting dinner together the next day a snap.
When grilling pizza, always remember to have your grill on as high and as hot as you can for the initial sear to ensure beautiful sear marks. As soon as it starts to bubble, flip it over and topped the grilled side with your toppings while the other side cooks. Remember, grilled pizzas don’t require nearly as much as their pizzeria counterparts mainly due to the fact that your crusts are much thinner. Here, less is definitely more. No one likes a soggy pizza!
Grilled pizzas cook very fast, so keep your eyes on your dough and be careful to not overcook or burn! As soon as it starts to bubble and puff, it’s time to flip!
Grilled Pizza Dough
Adapted from The Knead For Bread
Yields 2 pizzas
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water
Additional oil for basting
In a large bowl, add flour, yeast, salt, and olive oil. With a wire whisk, mix until everything is well incorporated. You may have some small lumps, that is ok.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in water. Knead for about 5 minutes…dough will go from being slightly shaggy to smooth and more uniform. You will want the dough to be slightly sticky…if it feels too dry, add a little more water 1 teaspoon at a time.
Add a little olive oil to a new, clean bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about an hour or until double in bulk. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface and place the dough on the flour. Do not punch down the dough. Cut dough in half with a sharp knife.
Place one piece back into bowl for later. Take the other piece of dough and stretch out dough with your hands to a 5″ x 18″ rectangle (or to your desired thickness).
Place onto a piece of parchment or wax paper and brush both sides with additional olive oil. Place pizza down onto a very hot grill and allow to sit till the dough starts to bubble and puff. Use tongs and peek under the dough to make sure you don’t burn the bottom. Flip with your tongs and remove from heat. Place any topping you want on the grilled side and then place back on the grill for about 3 minutes or until bottom side is done. Cut and serve.