White pizza, grilled two ways
80 degrees a few times this week! The weather reminds me it has actually been spring for three weeks, near-freezing temperature for my 10-K last Saturday be damned. That means garden parties in our courtyard. Two summers ago, we invited a bunch of friends over for Darcy’s birthday and cooked pizzas outside, with an assembly line of toppings next to a little tailgate grill. Thank you to our friend Zeina for posting these photos that I have been meaning to write up. You can see pizza symmetry is not my strong suit. Aesthetics aside, the pizza came out great, with a chewy, charred crust and a deep smoky flavor. Here are the recipes — cannot wait to get back at the grill within a few weeks.
Makes two 12 inch pizzas with a very thin crust — serves 4 people as a meal, at least 8 as an appetizer
pizza w/ pesto
.25 cup walnut pieces
1 16 ounce bag frozen artichoke hearts
.5 cup pesto (Easy enough to make. I just used Trader Joe’s for the party, which was perfectly good)
pecorino or parmesan
pizza w/ caramelized onions
2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Several sprigs fresh rosemary, washed and dried
.25 cup low fat ricotta
.25 cup scamorza (smoked mozzarella), shredded
white wine vinegar
1 bag Trader Joe’s pizza dough, divided in half (I like the herbed one. Any is fine)
hot pepper flakes
The trick with grilled pizza is to grill a side, flip it, top sparingly and finish with grill covered. If dough is in fridge, start by setting it on a counter for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough on a table dusted with cornmeal and rub both sides well with olive oil. Now set the dough on a pizza pan and head outside with your toppings and paddle. If anybody gets in your way, hold up the paddle menacingly. Or just offer some pizza.
Use a charcoal grill — light and let coals go white. Drop the dough on a hot grill for about two minutes. Pizza will not stick — lift pizza with paddle and check that bottom has nice char marks. Flip the pizza and top lightly — see recipes below. Now cover and let cook up to five more minutes, until cheeses are just starting to melt or pesto is well heated. Remove with paddle and slice on pan.
Pizza w/ pesto, toasted walnuts and charred artichoke hearts
Set artichoke hearts to thaw in a colander under running water. After a few minutes, squeeze and pat dry with paper towels. Chop into quarters and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Now heat cast iron skillet on medium flame and add olive oil. After a few minutes, add artichokes and let cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well browned. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat a toaster oven to 350 degrees. Crumble walnuts onto a toaster sheet topped with foil. Let toast about five minutes. Dump into a small bowl and set aside.
Shave pecorino or parmesan into a small bowl. Head outside with your dough, toppings and pizza tools.
After you grill a side of pizza, flip and rub lightly with pesto. Use the back of a spoon to spread pesto well. Sprinkle with artichokes, walnuts and cheese shavings. Return to grill, cover and let cook three to five more minutes. You want nice hot pesto without burnt walnuts.
Pizza w/ caramelized onions, scamorza and fresh rosemary
Caramelize onions. Heat iron skillet on medium flame, without oil. Add onions, spread evenly and cover.
Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring only once or twice. Now raise flame to medium, and add oil, salt, pepper, oregano and hot pepper flakes. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Finally, add a few dashes of vinegar and let cook 5 minutes more. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
Combine ricotta in a small bowl with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. Use a box grater or coarse microplane to shred mozzarella.
Head outside with your dough, toppings and pizza tools.
After you grill a side of pizza, flip and cover with caramelized onions. Use the back of a spoon to spread well. Now top with a thin layer of ricotta, again spread well. Sprinkle with mozzarella and rosemary. Return to grill, cover and let cook three to five more minutes. You want cheeses to bubble and brown, without burning the rosemary.