I made grilled pizza a few years ago in Ottawa with Nicole. I think we were inspired by this Michael Smith recipe.
Since then, I’ve made pizza many times. When I travel home, we have a traditional Cousins Pizza Party. I make the dough. Dad prepares the toppings (he’s a machine). Michael and I build them. Last time Sue took charge of the building and did a fantastic job. Michael made the dough two Decembers ago when I had my arm in a sling. It’s a family affair. Lots of good Pinot Noir. Maybe one or two of Nancy’s famous 19th Hole cocktails…good times.
I also like having pizza parties with my friends here in Bern. I prepare the dough, and everyone has to bring their favourite toppings for one pizza. Canned tuna on pizza is a big thing in Switzerland.
This summer, I felt it was time for another go at grilled pizza. I got my friends Raph and Noemi on board to host (they have a barbecue and a large backyard). I had initially planned to follow the technique that Nicole and I used, but Raph bought a pizza stone, and the effect was a thin, crispy crust, deliciously scorched in places. Great success!
Use your favourite dough recipe. This is mine. Nicole stumbled across the original recipe on the web while looking for a wheat-free pizza recipe (she’s a good friend):
2 cups white spelt flour
¾ tsp. salt (I guess…I never measure)
1 ½ tsp. quick-rising yeast
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
2/3 c. warm water
Sift the first four ingredients together. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the last three ingredients together. Make a well in the centre of the dough and pour in the liquid. Mix with a wooden spoon to wet all the flour and then get in there with your hands and knead for a few minutes into a smooth dough, adding more flour if necessary, just until you can comfortably knead it without too much stickiness. It should be a nice soft dough. Coat the outside in a bit of olive oil and let rise in a bowl covered with a moist tea towel, for about an hour, or however long it takes to prepare the toppings and have a cocktail or two. You actually don’t need to let it rise if you don’t have time.
The original recipe is here, and it makes one medium-sized pizza. (So I usually have to multiply it by six or eight, which is a great test of my math skills, with varying results.)
The world is your oyster.
Hands down, I think our family’s favourite pizza is the prosciutto-arugula combo (thanks, Raph!). Slosh on some spicy tomato sauce and a few onions and mushrooms and cook the pizza until it’s almost done. Add the cheese at the end (mozzarella, or even just a sprinkling of parm), and continue to cook for a few minutes to melt. Remove the pizza, top with prosciutto and then arugula, shaved parm if you like. Drizzle of oil. You’re welcome.
A greek-style pizza is an old standby. I also like caramelized fennel, olives and gruyère, as well as a sauceless caramelized onion, brie, thyme and pear combination. Nicole’s simple lemon oil, caper, mozzarella pizza will make your taste buds dance.
Grilled pizza method
Heat the grill (we used a gas barbecue) with the pizza stone. Raph says the grill was between 200°C and 250°C the whole time. Roll out the dough to fit the stone. Once the stone is nice and hot, transfer the dough to the stone on the grill and quickly build the pizza. The trick is to have all the ingredients prepped and at hand. Close the lid and let cook until the bottom of the pizza is golden and the toppings are sizzling.
Since this method requires less cooking time than with an oven, any raw veggies should be thinly sliced. Raph also bought a giant metal spatula, which made it easier to transfer the cooked pizza off the stone and onto the wooden board we used to serve. And made him look cool.
|Summer lives in Switzerland. In her spare time, she is either on her bicycle or in her kitchen.|
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