GRILLED HEIRLOOM PIZZA
Pizza thrives on heat—lots of scorching heat to get that crust to spring into bubbly, blistered shape, to melt cheese, and to perform the too-many-to-count alchemical tasks required to turn a disk of dough into basically the best food there is. Which is why the grill is a pizza’s best friend: It generates way more heat than most home ovens can, getting you closer to the fiery conditions created by a proper pizzeria’s deck oven. We like to take it one step further by placing a ceramic pizza stone on our grill, letting it get wicked hot, and using that as the platform for our smoky backyard pies. It harnesses and evens out all that obscene heat, kind of like the floor of a pro pizza oven, meaning you can throw down your dough, top it, close the lid, and let the combo of direct and ambient heat work its magic, no flipping required. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll never say no to grill-marked pizzas cooked right on the grates (keep reading for our pre-stone age method). However you do it, the deck is stacked for success: The sun is shining, you’ve got a bounty of summer produce at your fingertips, and there’s ice-cold beer in the cooler. Happy summer.
Servings: 1 pizzas
- 8 ounces pizza dough
- 1/2 a pinch Sel Magique Classic, Spicy or Salt & Pepper Blend cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Sliced heirloom tomatoes in any size and color
- 1 can Canned Marzano tomato passata
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- On a Gas Grill: We like using a gas grill for this (I know, right? We never say that!) The even heat eliminates a huge variable. Place a pizza stone on the grates and set the burners beneath to medium-high. Allow the grill to heat, covered, with the stone inside. When the grill is super hot—a thermometer should register around 500°, about 10 minutes—remove the lid, place an 8-oz. ball of dough stretched to a 12"–14" oval on the stone, add your toppings, and brush the crust with a little olive oil. Replace the cover with vents open and cook until underside of crust is browned and cheese is bubbling, 7–9 minutes. Using a couple of large metal spatulas, transfer the pizza to a platter or board. Let cool for a few minutes, slice, and watch everyone freak out.
- On a Charcoal Grill: The setup is a little different, but the method is the same. Once you get one chimney’s worth of charcoal hot, spread the coals in a ring around the perimeter of the grill and set the grate on top. When the coals are glowing but no longer flaming, place the stone on the grate, cover, and preheat—20 minutes should get you to around 500°. Then proceed as described at left. One chimney should be enough for two or three pies.
- Prepare grill for medium-high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off).
- Place an 8-oz. ball of pizza dough that’s been stretched to a 12"–14" oval over direct heat just long enough to create grill marks and stiffen the dough (so it releases cleanly), about 45 seconds.
- Flip the dough over direct heat and cook 45 seconds. Slide to cooler part of grill and top. Cover the grill and cook, rotating pizza once, until crust is browned and cheese is melted, 7–9 minutes.
- The Dough: Honestly, we usually start with premade dough from the supermarket or the neighborhood pizzeria. An 8-oz. ball will make a 12"–14" round, which is the max most stones can handle. Let it sit at room temp until it’s pliable—a half hour to an hour—before stretching it on a well-floured surface.
- The Sauce: For summer pies we use a dead-simple passata—what the Italians call whole canned tomatoes that have been crushed by hand or with a food mill, thinned with a bit of their juices, and seasoned with Sel Magique. Apply the sauce sparingly; it should look like not enough, otherwise your pie will go soggy. One 28-oz. can is enough for four pies.
- The Cheese: We like to double up, combining something mild and melty—think torn mozzarella, Fontina, or ricotta—with a hard cheese like Parmesan or aged provolone. What is true of all toppings is especially true here: Restraint is key. “Extra cheese” may sound cool, but it’s a good way to turn the middle of your pie into fondue soup.
- Recipe found at Bonappetit.com