Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grilled Pizza with Ham and Pepperoni

You know how sometimes when you’re sick and you kind of lose your appetite, and then you start to get better and you realize that you’re REALLY hungry, but only for one specific food? (Or maybe that only happens to me?) Anyway, today I was hungry for grilled pizza, and nothing else would do.

Earlier this year, I decided that my goal for the summer was to make world’s best grilled flatbread pizza. (Yes, I really reach for those stars.) This posed two main challenges for me: I’d never grilled pizza, and I’m terrible with doughs.

The latter took quite a bit of trial and error, and many packages of active dry yeast. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the little yeasty dudes to do their little yeasty thing. Apparently the water temperature really is important; you need the water warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that you kill the poor suckers where they sit. Kudos to my super-smart, dough-proficient hubby for showing me the perfect temp. I now use water that’s about the temperature of a baby’s bathwater, rather than a steaming hot tub. I also discovered that I lack the patience (and strong forearms) to knead dough for long periods of time. So I highly recommend a stand mixer with a dough hook.

The grilling was much easier than I expected. You can actually put the dough directly on the grill grate without dire consequences. (I had visions of the dough somehow adhering to the grill, and I’d spend the rest of my summer scraping off the charred remains.) Just be sure to brush both sides with a light coating of olive oil, and all will be well.

As far as toppings go, the world is your oyster. When I crave grilled pizza, I crave this version – a very basic mix of ham and pepperoni, with a few different cheeses, and some fresh basil.

Grilled Pizza with Ham and Pepperoni
Makes 3-4 small pizzas

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 c. flour
Olive oil, for coating bowl and brushing dough
Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on dough
Pizza sauce (homemade, or your favorite storebought brand)
Diced ham
Diced pepperoni
Fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded white cheddar cheese
Fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Put yeast and sugar in stand mixer bowl. Add warm water and let sit 15 minutes. Add salt and olive oil. Start mixer on low with dough hook attached, and gradually add flour. Turn mixer to medium for 5 minutes. Check dough. If it’s still a bit too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour and mix thoroughly.

2. Remove dough from mixer bowl and knead by hand a few times. Form a ball and place in a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover bowl with a dishtowel and put in a warm, draft-free place. Let rise 1 hour.

3. Remove dough from bowl and cut in three or four pieces, depending on whether you like thicker or thinner crust. Form each piece into a ball. Return to bowl, cover, and let sit 15 minutes.

4. Remove a piece of dough, leaving the others covered. Roll out to desired shape and thickness. (I prefer mine very thin, and because of the width of my grill grates, an oblong shape works best.) Place dough on a sheet of waxed paper brushed with olive oil. Brush olive oil on top side and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Repeat with other pieces of dough.

5. Heat grill on medium-low and place dough directly on grill grate. Grill until dough starts to puff, then flip.

6. Add sauce and toppings to cooked side of dough.

7. Grill until crust is baked and cheese is melted, moving to indirect heat if necessary. (I move mine to the upper grate after a few minutes so the toppings can heat through without the crust burning.)


Dave said...

Uh. Yum.

Cory said...

You do make one heckuva grilled pizza.