The only challenge here is knowing when to say when. In our household, we eat grilled pizza by the truckload: at least once a week during the summer and at least three helpings in a sitting. Truth be told, we eat an embarrassing amount of homemade pizza year-round—but the ability to avoid turning the kitchen into a fiery furnace is one of the supreme joys of summer. Hooray for grilling.
This is our version of menudo or pot roast: We throw anything and everything from the farm share onto the dough and call it a meal. This week, it was tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant from Red Fire Farm—sauceless, but with lots of mozz and olive oil.
THE INGREDIENTS: MAKES ONE 14-INCH PIZZA
FOR THE DOUGH (BREAD-MACHINE METHOD)
This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, but a no-machine dough would work just as well.
1 c water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 ½ c bread flour (I use 1 ½ c all purpose and 1 c whole wheat)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast or ¾ tsp quick-rising yeast
Add to the bread machine in the order recommended by the machine’s manufacturer (mine is as above). Process on the dough cycle (for me, the whole thing takes 1 hour 50 minutes).
FOR THE TOPPINGS
Really, almost anything goes. This time, we used:
2 Asian eggplants (the long, skinny kind)
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
olive oil for brushing
Fire up the grill. (We have a gas grill; charcoal users, please post suggestions for your method below!) Turn the gas to the highest setting while the grill is warming up and close the cover. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, slice your veggies nice and thin, brush them with olive oil and season as desired; then, once the grill is preheated, throw on your produce and close the lid. Four to five minutes per side is perfect for eggplant and potatoes; tomatoes can go a little less.
While the veggies are grilling, roll out your dough and brush one side with olive oil. This side will go on the grill first. Remove your veggies from the grill and turn the heat down to low. Using a pizza paddle and a nice big metal spatula, shimmy your dough off of the paddle and onto the grill, olive oil side down. Let the dough grill for three minutes, then remove it and carry it back inside (or to a handy prepping surface),
turning the heat back to high before you go.
Brush the ungrilled side of the dough with a little olive oil, flip it, and rebrush the grilled side with a little more oil (see above right). Place any sauce, cheese, red pepper flakes or your spice of choice, and your grilled veggies on the grilled side (see below right). Carry your pizza back to the grill, turn the heat back to low, and shimmy your pizza back onto the grill. Cook for seven to eight minutes. Here’s the deal with all those heat adjustments: You want the grate to be super hot and the ambient temp under the grill cover to be super hot, but you don’t want to singe your beautiful pizza pie.
If you want to skip the work of grilling the veggies, slices of raw tomato, fresh basil, and grated mozz work wonders. In fact, I’m getting hungry typing this. Thank goodness for leftovers.