Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pizza on the Grill

It's no secret that I love to grill and barbecue, especially in the summer. Not only does it keep my kitchen cleanup to a minimum, it also keeps my house cooler in the sweltering heat of summer. Until recently, I avoided recipes for pizza on the grill. I honestly thought it sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. Well, I gave it a go, hoping I wouldn't have to make an emergency call for take-out. Turns out, it's a brilliant way to cook pizza! Not only did my pizzas turn out with a delicious smokey flavor, it was actually quite fun! 

I made a simple tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil pizza for my kids, and a "Chicken Fajita Pizza" for me and my husband. Both were delicious! If you are planning to fire up the grill on this fourth of July, skip the boring hot dogs and burgers, and give this a try! Your guests will have a blast designing their own pizzas! All you'll need is a nice green salad, some ice-cold beer, and peach cobbler/vanilla ice cream, to ensure a fourth of July that is as memorable as it is fun!

Grilled Chicken Fajita Pizza

Makes 2 large oval pizzas

For the Pizza Dough for the Grill:
1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees) (My hot tap water is hot enough.)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the Chicken Fajita topping (Amounts are for 1 pizza, double for 2):
1 leftover, cooked chicken breast from my chicken fajita recipe, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup leftover, cooked onions and bell peppers from my chicken fajita recipe, chopped into bite-size pieces
Enough of your favorite salsa to spread over the dough (I like Roasted Tomato-Jalapeno Salsa)
Freshly grated Monterrey Jack and sharp cheddar cheese, to top the salsa
1 avocado, diced
Sprinkle of chopped, fresh cilantro

For the Pizza Dough for the Grill
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast mixture begins to foam, 5-10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing on the lowest speed until the flour has been completely incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium and let it go until the dough gathers into a ball, about 5 minutes. If the dough seems too wet, add a little more flour. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more water, etc. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Turn the dough into a large bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil, to prevent sticking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about an hour.

To Grill the Pizza
Have all your toppings ready and available! (It's good to be organized, as the pizzas cook quickly!) Divide the dough into two balls on a lightly floured surface.

Prepare a charcoal (or gas) grill to high heat on one side of the grill. (E.g., if using charcoal, pile the charcoal on one side of the grill.)

When your grill is ready, roll out one dough ball to a 1/4" thickness in an oval/rectangular shape. (The oval shape allows the pizza dough to cook on the hot side of the grill, and heat and melt the cheese on the other cooler side of the grill without burning the dough.) Brush the dough on one side with olive oil. Place the oiled side of the dough directly over the hottest part of the grill. Brush the top side of the dough with olive oil. Continue to cook the dough on each side until slightly charred and puffed, only a couple minutes per side. Remove the dough to a cutting board.

Spread the salsa (or tomato sauce,...whatever you wish) over the dough. Top with the cheese, chicken, onions and bell peppers. Return the pizza to the cooler side of the grill. Cover to allow the cheese to melt and toppings to heat, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and top with the avocado and cilantro.

Repeat the process with the second pizza and desired toppings.

Happy 4th!
Love you, Tom!

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