27 July 2009

Pizza... Too much of a good thing

If there are any loyal readers of this blog, you are very likely sick of hearing about pizza. It seems I go on and on and on about pizza sometimes. Maybe it's because it's so darn easy to make. Or maybe it's because it's one of my I-have-nothing-in-the-pantry dishes. Seriously, you got flour, yeast, olive oil, something that passes as cheese and something that passes as meat or veg or fruit, and you got pizza!

On Saturday Seth asked why we hadn't had pizza in a while, a regular on our cold-season menu. Well, I told him, there's something about turning on the oven to 450 degrees when it's already 90 degrees outside and you don't have air conditioning. Too much, heat, in this case, is not a good thing.

So, I decided to give in to his craving and cook the pizza on the grill outside. Trust me, I still had to brave the heat radiating from the coals during an already sun-soaked evening, but at least I didn't add to the global warming index of my kitchen in the process. We made four different kinds of pizzas thanks to a kitchen stocked with some of summer's offerings. Jasper dined on a broccoli cheddar pizza (thank you, Cousin Nathan and Converging Creeks Farm), while we enjoyed three kinds of our own: peach and blue cheese; basil pesto and parm; and our own broccoli version. It was simple and delicious. If you think ripe peaches and blue cheese sound strange then you have no idea how a candy like Sweet Tarts ever could have caught on. The peaches are sweet the blue is tangy and the result is heavenly. It's a pleasing combo that translates to salads as well.

Go make this pizza crust. Simply top it with olive oil and whatever delicious veggies you have too much of. It will be a good thing, and I doubt you'll hardly have too much!

Pizza Crust (for grilled pizzas)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup of warm water
1 package (or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
Olive oil

The dough is easiest made in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. It can be made by hand, but expect a more consistent crust with food processor.

Combine flour and salt in the food processor. Add yeast to the warm water and stir to combine. Turn the processor on and pour the water mixture in slowly followed by a light drizzle of olive oil. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for about 1 more minute. Remove dough from processor work bowl and place in a bowl at least double its size. Drizzle olive oil over top and smear around with your fingers. This will keep the dough from getting an outer crust on the ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Let the dough rise for approximately 1 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Once dough has risen, use quickly or store in the refrigerator in tightly-wrapped plastic for about 1 day or freeze.

Roll or toss dough to desired sizes, coating in enough flour to make it easy to work with. Place an untopped dough round directly on a hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes. The exact time varies drastically depending on the temperature. Don't walk away. Use long tongs to check the underside. Once the bottom begins to brown, flip the crust for about another minute. Then, remove the crust, top with pizza toppings. Return to grill in a spot where it gets only indirect heat or place on several layers of foil or baking sheet on the grill, so the bottom does not burn. Continue to cook until the toppings appear done.

*To bake in the oven, preheat to 450 degrees and bake a topped crust for about 11 to 14 minutes.


Erin M. said...

I'm a loyal reader! And I love your pizza. I've been wimping out this summer and using pocketless pita for our Friday night pizza. I have to say, it's pretty tasty and very easy.

Boothe said...

Another reason I need to ready you more regularly. Me, being the lazy type, bought a dozen of Sunrise Bagels pre-made pizza rounds and we've been grilling them this summer but couldn't quite seem to do it w/o burning the underside too much. Now I know!