I’ll begin this post by stating one simple fact: if you make this grilled pizza, you will forever be addicted.
Pizza is one of my favourite foods, especially homemade. To me, the best kind of pizza is one with a thin, slightly crisp crust, a smear of basil-kissed tomato sauce and a few rounds of fresh mozzarella arranged on top. Add a little salt and pepper, some fresh basil and a drizzle of good olive oil (if you’re lucky), and you’ve got the ultimate simple pie.
After a few merciful weeks of healthy eating (we were on a salad kick for a little while there, enjoying everything from Mexican-inspired black bean salad with grilled corn to pulled chicken salad with edamame and a soy-sesame dressing) it was time to get re-acquainted with our weekend favourite: homemade pizza.
The weather was beautiful that day and I was itching to barbecue, so I decided to kick our usual homemade pizza up a notch and try out a grilled version.
I formed the dough, somewhat haphazardly, into four small crusts while the barbecue was heating up. I then oiled the grill grates and carefully laid down the crusts. To my surprise, it took just a couple of minutes for the dough to puff up and release from the grill. It didn’t stick at all, and the dough was left with perfect black grill marks. Another minute or so and the dough had cooked through and gained a pleasant char around the edges.
The night before I had made an unusually exceptional tomato sauce so after brushing the crusts with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper, I spread a thin layer of sauce on top. For toppings, I used smoked prosciutto, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. My fiance was in the mood for something with a little more protein, so I grilled a few garlic and herb marinated chicken breasts, along with some mixed vegetables, to use as additional toppings.
The first bite alone would be enough to make you want this pizza again and again. The smoky charred crust added that missing element that so many other pizzas (homemade or otherwise) seem to lack. It’s almost like, Aha! This is what pizza is supposed to taste like! I’m now insanely jealous of people who own an outdoor pizza oven – thankfully I have a barbecue to fill this need.
Anyway, you need to try grilled pizza at home. It’s unbelievably easy – there’s no real skill required, other than basic dough manipulation (which I’m pretty bad at, but it still worked out!).
Recipe: Grilled pizza with mozzarella, prosciutto and basil
Makes 4 personal-sized pizzas.
- 1 ball store bought pizza dough
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing on the grill)
- Tomato sauce (preferably homemade)
- 3 slices smoked prosciutto, torn into pieces
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup (or more to your liking) shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the barbecue on high until it reaches 500F.
Lay the dough on a floured surface and divide into four equal pieces. Carefully form each piece of dough into rounds ~1/2 inch thick (it’s ok if they aren’t perfectly round or square – you’ll appreciate the rustic look!). Reduce the heat to medium on one side of the grill, brush with oil, and place the pizza crusts on that side, two at a time. Close the lid and cook for 1-2 minutes. When the dough easily releases from the grill and has dark grill marks, flip it over. Cover the lid again and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are slightly charred and the dough is cooked through. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining 2 crusts. Reduce both sides of the grill to low.
Brush the crusts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spoon on a thin layer of tomato sauce. Top with the cheese and prosciutto and return to grill. Cook with the lid closed for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Alternatively, you can complete this step in the oven using the broiler (I find this works better, but you might not want to turn on your oven in the summer!). Remove the pizza from the oven (or barbecue), sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately.
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