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Hooray, it’s officially summer so that means I have a legitimate excuse to complain about the temperature outside, right?? It’s strange, when I lived in Arizona I didn’t mind the 120º temperatures, but in California I feel like I’m The Wicked Witch of The West. My husband and I are trying to figure out where we want to escape to this summer and for whatever reason, we keep mentioning Seattle. If that ends up happening, I’d love to sneak over the border and visit the Okanagan Valley and do a little bit of wine tasting. Yes, there’s awesome places in Canada to go wine tasting!
Last week was one of those weeks that started off so good and by the time Friday rolled around I could have consumed an entire bottle of wine by myself. In one sitting. During a single conference call. Didn’t help that as soon as I got off the call I noticed our new puppy had gotten herself into some kind of trouble. Oh yeah, we got a puppy! We didn’t need her but she sure fits into our family of trouble makers. She loves water and mud and doesn’t sleep through the night. Sorry, puppy distracted me for a second there.
After I ended what I thought was going to be my last call of the day, I wanted a cooking project I could fully immerse myself into for a good portion of the afternoon and evening. It was still way too warm to actually cook inside, so I fell back onto an old favorite: grilled pizzas.
While the dough itself doesn’t come together in an instant, it’s a different way to experience pizza. In fact, when I got married, instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner in some stuffy restaurant we enjoyed wood-fired pizza in the backyard of the house we rented—ever since I’ve been obsessed with grilled pizza.
Over the years, I’ve purchased several different kinds of pizza grilling pans and stones and while they all serve a purpose, there’s something special about grilling the pizza right on the grate of your grill. The smoke flavor is richer and it’s more aesthetically appetizing when you can actually see the grill marks on the dough. If you’re a family of pizza lovers or are hosting some friends for a pizza and beer night, simply gather a few topping options and let everyone create their pizza, simply partially grill the crusts before your guests are arriving or while the kids are napping.
For the pizza dough:
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling hands and parchment paper
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast with water. Let stand until the yeast has dissolved, approximately 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of oil, flour and salt and mix with dough hook on medium speed until very smooth and stretchy, about 9 minutes.
- Cover dough with a towel and let rise at room temperature, it would double in size after about 1 1/2 hours.
- Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper, about 12” each and heat a grill to medium heat (about 350º).
- Punch down dough and let rise again at room temperature until it has doubled in size again, about 40 minutes.
- Turn the dough out into a slightly floured work surface and divide into 6 portions. For each pizza, put each portion of dough on a piece of well-oiled parchment paper. Flatten each portion and pat into 9 inch rounds. If dough shrinks, let rest, then continue to pat out. Let the dough sit for another 15-30 minutes until puffy.
- Flip a round of dough onto cooking grate, parchment-side up. Remove parchment paper and grilled, covered until dough has puffed and grill marks appear, about 3 minutes. Transfer cook crusts onto baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Grilled crusts can be left at room temperature for about two hours.
- Arrange pizza toppings on the side of the crust that is grilled. With a wide spatula or another tool, return pizzas to grill. Cover and cook until browned and crisp underneath, about 4-6 minutes.
Topping Ideas and Wine Pairings:
- Water-packed Mozzarella and Fresh Basil with Grenache
- Ricotta, Arugula and Prosciutto with Sangiovese
- BBQ sauce, Red Onions, Cilantro, Pineapple and Grilled Chicken (perfect use for left over chicken!) with Malbec
- Summer Squash, Zucchini and Artichoke with Grenache Blanc
- Fig and Prosciutto with Gewürztraminer
- Zucchini and Basil with Sauvignon Blanc