Grilled Pizza, Pt. 1

So, here we are continuing this week’s FoodFocus of Great Grillables! Let’s get to it!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m about 7 months pregnant with my second child. People often ask what food cravings/aversions I’m having and how they differ from last time. Last time around I wanted chowders of all kinds—clam, corn, seafood, whatever. I’d be all over it. This time? For a while orange juice was the only beverage I could/would consume. Next came a major artichoke craving. And I’ve never really cared for them too much before. For the last 3 months—PIZZA!

I’ve always loved pizza. And really, who doesn’t? It’s got something for everyone. Bread, cheese, tomato sauce and the rest is up to you. It’s your world. And I say, get inventive. Customize. Make it how YOU really want it. My fixation lately is tomatoes (no sauce), fresh garlic, fresh chopped basil, mushrooms of any kind, spinach, artichoke hearts and fresh mozz’. Seriously, I could eat it for breakfast. . . and if there’s leftovers, I often do.

Pizza, like ice cream can intimidate folks. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the prospect of making one’s own dough that does it. There are certainly many a’grocery store who carry pre-made dough. Maybe it’s that the picture they have in their heads is of a suave Italian guy tossing a big, round dough disk perfectly in the air while they feel too clumsy for that kind of kitchen move. Maybe, like me, they just hadn’t figured out how to get the dang thing to not stick to the pizza stone. It’s not hard. Really—I’ll prove it.

For a while I was making pizzas a couple nights a week in the oven, but it’s summer now and that oven is taking a big break. So, I decided to get to know Pizza Grilling. I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned.

First, I experimented with pizza dough recipes. I like a thin crust. And something that really has a taste all it’s own. Here, for you, is the fruits of my labor—this is the best I have been able to do:

PIZZA DOUGH
No air tossing necessary.

Makes 2 10” pizzaswhisk1.jpg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour, plus a little more, about 2 tablespoons
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup room temperature water
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Begin this process at least 6 hours before you want to roll the dough out—overnight is best. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, yeast and sugar. mix_in_water1.jpgWhisk as you pour the salt in (it shouldn’t come into contact with the yeast).

2. Make a well in the center and pour water in slowly, gradually stir the flour into the water until all the flour is incorporated and a dough begins to form. It’ll still be quite sticky and rough, but don’t over mix it—gather it together and drop it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently just for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth.

3. Let it rise! Pour the olive oil into a clean bowl, add the dough. Turn the dough over so that it’s covered in oil. Cover the bowl tightly. If you are planning to use the dough right away, let it sit at room temperature for an hour. doughball.jpgIf you will be using it 6 hours or more later, let it sit 45 minutes at room temp, then put it in the refrigerator. Take it out 30-45 minutes (depending on how warm your kitchen is!) before you wish to bake it.

Tomorrow we’ll cover rolling, shaping and grilling!

If you need to find good za where ever you are—try hitting this blog to find a great spot for a slice. He’s got ratings for pizza places all around the country—the dude has a serious passion for pizza. I have to respect that. Here is what he says about his blog:
“…So within this blog I will share my strong opinions about pizza, what makes a great one, and most importantly— where to find the best, no matter where you are.”

And if you need a dessert pizza (who doesn’t!?), you can count on foodnetwork.com—a great resource for the foodie.