Wednesday, 20 August 2008

California Grilled Pizzas

Barefoot bonus day! This week in Barefoot Bloggers, Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake has chosen Ina Garten's California Grilled Pizzas.

Now you may not know this already about me but I am a pizza making machine. I have two boys who are each now taller than me and their father and they are constantly ravenous. Once a week I make a mess of giant pizzas in an attempt to fill them up. I have also been known to be sneaky and put a little whole wheat flour in the dough - but don't tell them.

The pizzas earmarked for the boys are suitably dull (sauce, meat, cheese - it's a wonder they don't have scurvy) but the ones for hubs and I are full of fun ingredients and also a great way to clean out the fridge. Most leftovers taste good on a pizza, I find.

We have grilled pizzas before and I love the flavour that the grill gives the dough.

I was looking forward to making Ina's grilled pizzas and to seeing how her dough differed than mine. Hers was a little drier and leatherier than mine and only rose for a half hour. It was an excellent consistency for grilled pizzas.

I was all set to go but where was my grill man? Asleep in the basement with the puppies. Too many long days and early mornings and the man was pooped.

Instead of waking him up, I brought out my grill pan - a very cool cast iron one that goes across two burners. Ridged on one side for grilling and smooth on the other for griddling.

Although we had made pizza on the BBQ before, I had never made it on the grill pan and I was very happy with the results. I just finished them up in the oven when the toppings were on.

I had some flavoured oils that I wanted to use up so I did oregano oil with garlic on half and roasted tomato oil with lemon thyme on the other. Two of them got dressed up in leftover grilled peach and onion chutney and blue cheese and the rest got garden tomatoes, sliced red onion, chopped green olives, roasted red peppers, basil and feta.

California Grilled Pizzas - Barefoot Contessa

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the toppings (select 8): 1 red onion, thinly sliced, 1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated, 1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated, 1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced, 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned, 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned, 1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried, 6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick, 4 pork or turkey sausages, cooked and sliced, 1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried, 4 garlic cloves, roasted, crushed red pepper flakes

For prep: 1/2 cup good olive oil, cornmeal

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)

Light your grill and wait until it's hot.

Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.

Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.

Alright, who licked the blue cheese off of my pizza?

How did they turn out? Great! Another winner from Ina. She hasn't let me down yet.