Grilled Pizza - A Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Choice by Mary Mechler
Warmer weather reminds me of having pool parties and cooking outside. One meal that guests really appreciate is grilled pizzas. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, they taste really good! Second, your guests can personalize them to their own taste. For the host, this is a great make ahead idea.
Here's what I like to do. I make the dough ahead of time - usually the day before. If you put the dough in a large zipper bag in the refrigerator, it will rise overnight just fine. Then, you can just punch it down and roll out individual pizza rounds. I'll include a recipe at the end for pizza dough. I will typically roll out the dough into about eight-inch rounds and grill them lightly- at a medium temperature - on one side. Then, I stack them between paper towels after they're cool. The grilled side is where toppings go. Put the assembled pizzas on cookie sheets dusted with cornmeal for easy transport to the grill. 5 minutes on the grill should cook the raw side of the dough as well as the toppings. A good tip is also to crumple up two or three paper towels and pour a bit of vegetable oil on them. Use a tongs to rub this over the grate on your grill to help prevent sticking.
Some ideas for toppings include bowls of cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken breast pieces, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, basil leaves, sage leaves, Italian parsley, thinly sliced tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, pizza sauce and whatever ingredients you may prefer. These are some that I use.
Keep in mind these are thin pizza crusts, so the more advanced prep you do for the toppings, the better result. For example, you would not want to put raw sausage on them because there isn't enough time to cook it through before the crust would burn. Likewise for the onions and mushrooms. It would be difficult to fully cook them on the grill, so sauteing in advance is a good idea.
If you set up an assembly line of sorts for the ingredients, it is easy for guests to put together their own pizzas.
Kids especially like making their own pizzas, so this is a fun party idea.
If you prefer not to make your own pizza dough, you can purchase it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store - or, you could use flour tortillas. But, I think the dough gives a more authentic flavor to the pizzas.
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 2/3 - 3 c. all-purpose white flour
1 tsp. salt
Sprinkle yeast over the water in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. In the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 2/3 cups of the flour and salt. Pour in the wet yeast mixture. Gradually mix it into the flour, adding a little more warm water, up to 1/3 cup. Allow the mixer to knead until very smooth, soft, and no longer sticky, about 2 minutes. You may need to add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. It should still be fairly wet.
Oil the dough and put it back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you prepare the dough the day before, lightly oil it and put it in a large zipper bag. It will rise in the refrigerator overnight. Punch dough down and turn it onto a floured surface. Use a pastry cutter or a thin sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Divide each half again, and each piece one more time, so that you have 8 portions. Roll each piece out into 8 inch rounds.
You may keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or you may freeze it up to 2 months. If frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before preparing.
Mary Mechler has been cooking and baking since she was 5 years old. Mary is excited to share her love of cooking and great cooking tools with others who are cooking enthusiasts, through the website, http://cookprostore.com which offers kitchen cookware, chefs knives and kitchen cutlery. If you find something you like, and place an order, we'll include a free copy of Amy Coleman's cookbook while supplies last!
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