How to Make Grilled Pizza

pizzaSummer vegetables make for great pizzas. It’s time to highlight those delicious tomatoes. Grilled pizza comes close to simulating the brick oven pizza that you might find in restaurants (and is always an impressive party trick.) If you’re organized, it’s not too hard and it’s worth every bit of work. The key to the amazing flavor really is the garlic oil. Try different variations of your own – different veggies, with or without the pesto – but never skip the oil.


Makes 4 personal pizzas.

2 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. yeast
1 cup water, warm
2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil

  1. For the dough, mix dry ingredients (including yeast). With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, add water and oil. Mix and knead until smooth. You want it to be elastic, not sticky.  Move dough to  a clean bowl, sprayed with olive oil. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours. (This step is very forgiving.)Stack dough between heavily floured parchment.
  2. Deflate dough and divide it into 4 pieces. With cupped hands, roll each into a nice ball and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut 4 squares of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll each dough ball out to about 8 inches. Stack between heavily floured parchment paper. (Sticky dough is your worst enemy during this process. Err towards using extra flour.)


3 balls mozzarella, fresh or homemade, sliced into small pieces
3 or so delicious tomatoes, sliced thinly and patted dry between two washcloths
fresh garlic oil
pestoOrganize your toppings.
fresh basil or oregano, coarsely chopped
kosher salt

Prepare your toppings and lay them  out on a tray. You want everything to be easily on hand when you go out to grill. Be ready to brush on the oil with a pastry brush (or improvise with a paper towel folded into a tight rectangle.)

Time to grill:

When you prepare your grill, heap charcoal on one side of the grill. This creates a hot side and a cooler side. Arm yourself with tongs, a large spatula, and an empty cutting board. If you have an assistant around, they can help in case panic sets in, but don’t let them tell you any interesting stories. Pay attention! Constant vigilance!

  1. Grill only 2 pizzas at once. Peel off parchment and place dough on hot side of the grill. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. (Don’t be afraid to check the bottom.)After cooking one side, remove from grill.
  2. Remove pizzas from grill and place, cooked side up, on the empty board. Top your pizza in this order:  garlic oil, pesto
    (if you’re using), cheese, tomatoes, sprinkle of kosher salt over the whole thing.
  3. Return pizzas to cool side of grill. Cover with lid. Cook for about 2 minutes until cheese is melted. (Check often.)  Remove and keep pizzas warm in oven. (If your fire gets away from you and the bottom starts to burn before the cheese melts, there is no shame in melting your cheese under the broiler.  It happens.) Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
  4. Repeat with 2 remaining pizzas.

Sage Pizza

For some reason, we seem to be good at growing sage. Maybe you are too. This is an easy pizza to put together – no chopping, no precooking.sage pizza

Pizza Dough (1 ball)
1/2 c. + 2 tbls. water
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
pinch sugar
1 1/2 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

2 balls fresh mozzarella
about 10-15 leaves of sage
olive oil
red pepper flakes, salt

  1. Make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the wet. Knead for 10 minutes. Let rise in a bowl coated in olive oil and covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 500F.
  3. Slice your mozzarella and put it on a cloth to dry.
  4. Shape the dough. Stretch and toss. Place on a pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal.
  5. Place mozzarella  on the dough. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake on the lowest rack of your oven for 7 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and add sage. Bake for 8 minutes more or until brown.
  7. When it’s done, sprinkle with a small amount of red pepper flakes, a little salt, and grated Parmesan.

I followed most of the directions from a recipe in Local Flavors, a wonderful book that  I’ve repeatedly checked out of the library and now own. (Thanks, Mom!)

There’s a new cheese in town

newmoonWhat could be better news? Mt. Townsend Creamery has a new cheese called New Moon. We bought some at the University District  Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago and sliced some down last night to top a hamburger.  I must confess that we munched much more while we were waiting for dinner to be cooked.  As a snacking cheese, it has a delicious bite with a simple and smooth taste.

New Moon claims to be “what the moon would taste like if it were made of cheese.” While we don’t have any idea about that, we can definitely vouch for it’s  out-of-this-world-flavor.  (Ha ha.) Is it a provolone? Is it a mozzarella? We don’t know.  It certainly melted well and has lots of possibilities.  And at $10 a pound, you won’t feel bad using a heavy hand for that Friday night pizza. (I almost felt a little guilty paying that little for  such a large hunk of cheese, but then I remembered just how much Mt. Townsend cheese I buy…)

Read Cook Local’s  scoop on the story,