Saturday, June 19, 2010

A pizza revelation

For as long as Joe and I have been together, pizza has been an important part of our lives. In college Joe worked at Shakespeare's, the quintessential college town pizza joint in Columbia. Back when I had a crush on him, I dragged my friends to there just so I had an excuse to run into him. On our first date, we spent a couple hours talking over beers at the downtown location. Some of his best friends from college were a result of his pizza making days, and he had plenty of fun nights working and hanging out with that motley crew.

Obviously, this means Joe is the chief pizza maker at our house. He still loves making fresh dough and topping it with various combinations of veggies and meat. I love this, too, because it means I should just get out of the kitchen and let him work his magic. And there are some nights when I've worked a few shifts in a row and have feet that are aching more that usual, when I like nothing more than to let him take the reigns with dinner. The results of this tend to be pretty delicious!

Last week I suggested we grill the pizza, which I've played around with a couple times before. In the summer it is a great way to make pizza without overheating your whole kitchen. We figured out the ideal pizza making technique this time around, and I think I will insist on having Joe grill our pizza from now on. You see, I am not the skilled pizza tosser that he is, and when I've grilled pizza in the past the crust has always been a little bit on the thick side. This never seemed like a problem, but once Joe pulled his thin crust pizza off the grates I knew his pizza had just blown mine out of the water. The thin crust had a perfect chewy texture from being cooked on the grill, since it is hotter than our oven, and it gets little charred bits in spots. It's reminiscent of the fancy wood oven pizzas that you pay $2o bucks for at trendy pizza places, and you can't beat the comfort of your own porch on a beautiful summer night. Even when it gets cold, I'm going to encourage Joe to keep grilling the pizza, because the texture of this crust is something we've never managed with our pizza stone in the oven. Give it a try, and thank me later ;)

Here's what you do. First, roll out your dough as thin as you can get it. Feel free to play around with tossing the dough, but have extra dough available if you're a novice. Get your grill nice and hot, and wipe an oiled rag over the grates to avoid having your pizza stick. Transfer the pizza dough to the grill, close the lid, and walk away for 3-4 minutes. Start checking the pizza every minute, and remove onto a cutting board or pizza peel when you start to see charred spots on the crust. Flip the pizza over, so the well done side is facing up, and top the pizza however you like. Then transfer the pizza back to the grill to finish cooking the bottom of the pizza. If it starts to look too crisp on the bottom, transfer to the upper rack on the grill until the cheese and other toppings are warm. Use the peel to get the pizza off the grill, slice, and enjoy!

If you make a pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, the leftover ingredients can be tossed with pasta, tuna, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to make a quick and easy lunch!


suze said...

There's a fantastic grilled pizza joint near Harvard that has awesome toppings like carmelized onions and arugula, traditional tomato and mozzarella and potato and herbs! if y'all ever come out to boston, we'll definitely take you there! :)

Laura in Paris said...

Grilled pizza? What a great idea! It looks great, simple and perfect.