Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilling Pizza

Pizza bones, pizza sauce, and fresh mozzarella will be the only constant elements for each grilled pizza. Making an appearance in a unique freestyle configuration will be: fresh whole basil leaves, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers, mushrooms, marinated garlic, jalapenos, and slices of hot Italian sausage. Awesome. A  tiny space on one pizza will be infected with olive slices (their juices had better not even think about intruding into any other place on that particular pizza) and I will not refer to them again in this blog, but I will acknowledge their presence now only to serve as a warning to me to look before I bite.

Because this was a later in the day decision and I don't have any dough in the freezer, I am going with Mama D's bones rather than Benny's luscious crust. Although I do wonder if Benny's recipe might be better over coals and will test drive that one day soon. Will also use my sauce.

How to grill a pizza with special notes on how NOT to grill a pizza

Make a round of your favorite dough and when it's is ready separate into four smaller rounds. This part is one of the greatest things about pizza dough - you can seal all four of these little lovelies in plastic wrap and freeze them. Then whenever you want pizza, just take one out and thaw in the fridge (you should have a nicely thawed bit of dough at dinner time if you take it out in the morning).

Make each crust about the size of a dinner plate. Pressed and rolled them out to a sort of rough circle each about 1/4 inch thick. Do not make a rim like you would usually do with a pizza. The reason for this is that you need the entire pizza crust to cook at the same amount of time because it's going to cook very very fast. Don't get all bent out of shape about dimensions and please do not use any sort of caliper to check measure at regular intervals, just make the dough reasonably even.

If you are making several pizzas, you can stack them well dusted with corn meal between layers of wax paper and keep them in the fridge a short time to stall off more rising (not more then an hour or two or they will rise any old way). This is one reason I make the pizza the size of a dinner plate, please feel free to make yours the size you want it to be.

First special note of caution: The coals needs to be just passed the point where it is the hottest with the coals in a reasonably even distribution. If you put the pizza on when the coals are their hottest you the charring gets, well, a tad out of hand.

When you are ready to grill, bring out the crusts, a bowl of olive oil with minced garlic and a brush, a couple cookie sheet or pizza paddles, with a small bowl of flour or corn meal, and all your topping ingredients prepped and ready to go so you don't have to rush about at a very inconvenient time trying to find more slices of fresh mozzarella or garlic.

Prep the grates with one of those nice sprays they make for grills to minimize sticking. Note of caution: do not spread the grates with olive oil no matter what people say because all it does is create dense clouds of smoke.

Sprinkle some corn meal on the paddle and put one of the pizza crusts on it, the flour should make the crust slide easily onto the grill. Slip it onto the grate, close the lid, and cook for just a couple minutes - then check the bottom to see if it is lightly browned. Yet another cautionary tale: I strongly suggest that you not walk about talking and going in the house to check on the game or go to the bathroom or any other such distracting activity once the pizza is on the grill. Trust me. The result is not particularly pretty nor edible.

Use the pizza paddle to remove the crust from the grill and flip it cooked side up onto another paddle or cookie sheet well dusted with corn meal, and brush the cooked side of the pizza with the garlicky olive oil.

Notes on the excessive use of sauce: With a VERY light hand, apply sauce, toppings, and cheese. Light is especially important for the sauce - remember there is no rim to keep it in! Sauce makes a lot of smoke too. Please note what happens if your sauce is to generously applied in the pic to the (left).

Slide the pizza back onto the grill and close the lid and mostly close the vents to make it more like an oven inside. If you are using an electric grill lower the temp. Cook about three minutes more or until the bottom is starting to char and the cheese bubbly.

Remove, and repeat for as many pizzas as you want! It doesn't matter that the first pizza sits a couple minutes as that's good for making the crust easier to cut anyway.

Now, this is a very special warning. Do remember that these things cook at only a couple minutes on each side. With that thought in mind, imagine how difficult it would be to keep three pizzas going at the same time on two different grills. Now hold onto that picture only make the crusts quite a bit blacker then you would prefer, yes, that is your fate if too many are attempted at one time. In fact, we were thinking of using that rule as a springboard and turn the meal into quite a positive mindful thing by establishing a lengthy pizza grazing tradition - grill, talk nosh, grill talk nosh, grill talk nosh with individually addressed perfect pizzas. Trying to get five of these beauties ready and hot all at the same time did not make for a nice quiet mindful time.

One pizza at a time is a very mindful rule for a wondrously mindful get everyone involved meal. Enjoy.

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