Confession: I am a self-professed pizza junkie. As much as I always want to claim something highbrow and extravagant for my favorite food, I am always forced to admit that there is little on this earth that makes me happier than a good pizza. Key word being “good”; I also am a self-professed pizza snob. The one single complaint I had about my four fantastic years at Ithaca College was how mediocre the pizza up in central New York was. While I won’t turn down pizza in any way, shape, or form, I will moan bitterly about the inferiority of less-than-stellar pizza to anyone who is indulgent enough to listen to me.
I know grilled pizza is kind of an “in” thing at the moment, but I feel obligated to tell you that I actually started it. Ok, so I wasn’t literally the first person to ever grill a pizza (far from it), but I did start grilling pizzas way before there was any bandwagon to jump onto. Got it? Good.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I will give you one piece of advice regarding grilled pizzas: go make one. Right now. While I generally eschew trends, this is one worth following. If you already love pizza in the oven, pizza on the grill will blow you away. I blame my pizza-snobbery entirely on being raised in close proximity to New Haven, CT, home of the original Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napolitana, aka the best pizza in the entire universe. Pepe’s pizza has thin, crispy, chewy crust, simple sauce, the perfect amount of cheese, and deliciously burnt edges (known by true fans as “char”). I’ve been trying to replicate it for years and grilling my pizza is the closest I’ve gotten. It is that good.
The use of the red onions and roasted peppers arose entirely out of a vegetable crisper scavenger hunt (i.e. What in here isn’t bad or going bad?). The sauce on the pizza is just a can of crushed tomatoes run through a fine mesh sieve and mixed with a pinch of salt. Roast the peppers by grilling on one side until the skin is charred and blistering and turning until all four sides are cooked, removing the skin, and chopping as desired. The crust, as you will see below, is a mixture of bread and whole wheat flours. The onions are raw. It was definitely missing a little something (an herb, I think–basil would have been nice), but it was a pretty delicious combination nonetheless.
For your own pizzas, feel free to get creative. One of the most enjoyable parts about making grilled pizzas, since they are individual sized, is customizing your pizza to your own personal tastes. The possibilities are endless. Have fun and enjoy!
- 1 batch of homemade dough (see below) or 1-2 balls of store-bought pizza dough
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes, strained
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
- Oil or cooking spray for the grill
- Preheat grill, setting on medium high heat.
- Divide dough into equal parts approximately the size of your fist. Re-roll and shape into flat, round discs, either using your hands or a rolling pin.
- Oil grill and place pizzas over hottest points. When bottom is cooked and showing dark, defined grill marks, (about 3 mins.) remove to a greased cookie sheet, cooked side up.
- Top pizzas with sauce, mozzarella, and your favorite toppings
- Return pizzas to grill, topping side up, and cook until bottom is done and cheese is melted. (Note: Be sure to check frequently to make sure bottoms of pizzas are not burning too badly, but leave lid down whenever you are not checking or the cheese will never melt!)
Wheat Pizza Dough (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 packet rapid rise yeast
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (see yeast packet for exact temperature)
- 1 tablespoon oil or cooking spray
- In a large bowl, combine bread and wheat flours, yeast, and salt.
- Stir in water (I strongly, strongly advise using a candy or fry thermometer to check your water temperature to avoid yeast inactivation and crushing pizza heartbreak) until dough just comes together.
- Turn dough out onto lightly dusted surface and knead 7-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth, pliable, and not sticky in the least.
- Place dough in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which should take about 2 hours. (Fun fact: I usually turn on the oven and leave the door open to help dough rise, but I didn’t want to heat up the house on this 90 degree day, so I left the dough in the garage. It worked like a charm.)
(Makes 3 medium pizzas or 4-5 generously portioned individual pizzas)