Saturday was a perfect day.
I’m quite sure there’s nothing better than reading cook books on the beach and spending the day with your family – chatting, playing in the sand, swimming… eating fresh tomato sandwiches for lunch.
After the beach I offered to cook dinner for my parents and their best friends. My husband and I frequently take over their home on the Cape on summer weekends, often with multiple friends in tow. Everyone likes coming to hang with Mom and Dad, sipping cocktails on the porch and enjoying Mom’s home cooked meals. Tonight, I thought we could return the favor.
While flipping through cook books and pondering dinner ideas, my sister-in-law suggested grilling pizzas and then offered to send us home fresh veggies from their garden for toppings. I was sold.
My brother and his wife’s backyard might be heaven on earth. A grassy, shady spot up by the house followed by rolling hills of gardens that lead down to the ocean. On the way down we passed lots of fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, watermelons, a bee hive, eggplant, chickens, squash, a dozen different types of peppers, rabbits, leeks, onions, and squash to name a few. It’s quite often these guys are able to put an entire meal on the table for their three children with all things coming straight from their backyard. What a special thing to be able to do. It’s a LOT of work – endless work, to keep everything healthy, watered and growing but seeing them enjoy the literal fruits (and veggies) of their labor makes it all seem well worth it.
We plucked some eggplant, onions, garlic, peppers and basket of tomatoes before heading back. I was soo excited to get back, make pizza dough and fresh sauce and roast up all the veggies.
We made 6 Pizzas:
- Roasted Eggplant and Carmelized Onions with Ricotta
- Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes
- Genoa Salami and Fresh Roasted Garlic
- Tomato, Basil and Ricotta
- Genoa Salami and Pepperoni
- White Pizza with Fried Chicken and Pickles (this one was an experiment)
I should also note that I was originally introduced to grilling pizzas with my cousin and his wife. They do this often and call them “Grizzas” – genius.
Ingredients n’ thangs:
For the dough:
- 4 Cups of Flour (I used 2 cups of Bread Flour and 2 of All Purpose)
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
You’ll want to make the dough first so that it has plenty of time to rise. I used Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough Recipe and made two separate batches. It’s best to use a mixer with a dough hook. Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt into your mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on and then add the water and oil. Mix until dough comes together into a ball – if it seems too dry, add a little water. Knead the dough into a smooth firm ball. Cover in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place.
For the sauce:
- 28 Ounces of Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Head of Roasted Garlic
- Handful of Fresh Basil
- Fresh Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Salt to Taste
This is a quick sauce, but it’s tasty. For pizza, a simple sauce is great. Start by roasting garlic. Cut the top off, fill with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Pluck roasted garlic pieces out and add them to pan with olive oil. Mash the garlic pieces with a fork and allow to come to a simmer. Add crushed tomatoes letting them get up to temperature. Add sugar and salt and then sprinkle a handful of sliced fresh basil and oregano. Taste and improvise! Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut up all the veggies you’d like to use then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake until soft and browned. You’ll want to keep an eye on them and give them a toss or two as well so that they cook evenly. The smaller the vegetables are cut up the quicker they cook – sometimes within just a few minutes. Set aside. I chose to caramelize the onions on the stove top, but you could also toss them into the oven with all your other veggies if you preferred.
No we can make dem’ pies! You’ll want to have quick access to all your toppings, your sauce and your cheeses out by the grill because these puppies cook pretty quickly. I suggest a big platter with everything laid out in piles.
Grill pizza in 5 easy steps…
- Clean the grill grates if need be and heat the grill – you’ll want it pretty hot, try for 550 degrees or hotter.
- Seperate dough into pieces, knead and shape to your liking. I used my hands and let them have organic, imperfect shapes.
- Carefully grease the grill grates and then lay a piece of dough onto it. Close the lid.
- Once the bottom of the dough is cooked (2-4 minutes), flip it over with a spatula and then quickly add toppings and close the lid again. Dough will finish cooking and cheese will melt.
- Remove from grill and let stand a few minutes before cutting.
- Invite a pal that doesn’t mind helping out – you’ll want a runner or a second set of hands.
- Make smaller pizzas – they are easier to flip AND you make more variations.
- Wear an apron – they’re cute, plus these thangs can get messy.
- Experiment! My mom had leftover fried chicken in the fridge so I had the strange idea to put it on a pizza with pickles. It was pretty stinking de-lish. Next time – more pickles!
Shooting pizza outside in the dark doesn’t make for great pictures. Natural light is always best, but what can you do?
Leftovers make great breakfast! Crack an egg on ’em if you dare!
Dough Recipe Comes From Bobby Flay Grilled Pizza Dough Recipe