Pizza is a staple around our house. Homemade (or semi-homemade) pizza, that is. No takeout for us. Unless it’s from Centro, but even that doesn’t happen often.
The advent of premade crusts makes it a cinch to prepare pizza on a weeknight, and the incredible deliciousness of homemade crust can make it a truly special meal for when you have a little more prep time.
Pizza is quick, customizable, and filling, meaning there’s little need for sides, other than maybe a salad. The Husband likes meat, meat, and more meat on his pizza. The kids like–surprise!–pepperoni and cheese. (Though my birdgirl likes mushrooms, so she and I sometimes split a girly pizza with mushrooms, herbs, and, ideally, goat cheese. I love that she’s an adventurous eater!) And I want anything but the standard–give me unorthodox sauces, not-your-typical pizza cheese, and just about any vegetable.
And right now, there are so many veggies at their peak. When the veggies are young and tender, they need nothing more than a quick chop and to be thrown on top of a crust for a quick, fresh dinner.
But on a day like yesterday, when the heat index was hovering in the triple digits, I was not about to turn on the oven.
The grill, however, was calling me.
I’d grilled pizza once before. It was edible, even good, but our old grill presented some challenges and the result wasn’t as good as I knew it could be.
Enter the new grill: a big, beautiful, spacious fixture that’s so much easier to use. Big bonus: the heat from the burners is actually adjustable! With the old grill, it was “high” or “off.”
The gist is that the new baby is perfect for grilling pizza, and I’ll bet that, if your grill was made in this century, you can make this dinner, too!
What you’ll need:
The crust: I started with premade crusts, though rolled out pizza dough works, too. (Dear Trader Joe’s, Please hurry and get that store in West Des Moines up and running! Would love, love, love to try your delicious pizza dough on my new grill. Many thanks, JC)
The toppings: Cook any meat toppings, obviously. Prepare your veggies as you like them. Set out your sauce and cheese (or cheeses). Julienne some basil, chop some parsley, strip some thyme — whatever suits your fancy. The key here that you have to work fast once the pie is on the grill, so ready everything you need and assemble all of the toppings in bowls near the grill.
The heat: Preheat the grill on high for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low once you’re ready to toss the crust on.
The basic idea: Grill your pizza crust on one side for about 3 minutes, or until it’s got a few grill marks and develops some color. Flip the crust and–work quickly here–spread a thin layer of sauce (or drizzle with olive oil, S&P), add your toppings, and close the grill for another couple of minutes to brown the bottom of the crust and melt the cheese. Check the crust often because it does cook quickly.
Remove to a pan to rest a few minutes. Then slice, serve, and savor!
No two pizzas in my house are ever the same; I mix it up every time. Last night’s pizzas were inspired by what’s fresh right now at the farmers markets and by this photo here. I made a bruschetta pizza
and a riff on Deb’s
Both were amazingly delicious.
And since my little birds have flown the coop this week (to the grandparents!), I was able to enjoy a couple glasses of this:
(Ignore the surrounding mess…)
Served with a twist of lime and on the rocks, this is some good stuff! It totally made grilling in the heat bearable.
(inspired by various sightings on the Internet)
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Chopped basil to taste (I have spicy globe basil and the leaves are tiny enough that I just left them whole. They were perfect.)
Combine these ingredients, toss with a bit of salt and some pepper. Go easy with the salt, because the pepperoni offers plenty. Drizzle with olive oil and a few sprinkles of balsamic. Toss again and then let it rest while you prep everything else. That rest time will allow the tomatoes to release their juices and all those fantastic flavors to marry and make some magic.
Grill the first side of your pizza crust. Flip and drizzle with olive oil, (little) salt & pepper, then top with pepperoni and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese (fresh would be fantastic; all I had was shredded). Close the grill lid and cook until the crust browns a bit and the cheese is nearly melted. Remove from the grill and spoon the bruschetta topping all over the pizza. Let rest a few minutes so the balsamic/oil soak into the crust. Slice and savor!