I used to be a nonbeliever. Friends would mention the amazing pizza they made at home, but I’d shrug it off, secretly thinking there’s no way it was half as tasty as brick-oven pizza. Well, I take it back. Sort of. I still think home-baked pizza is a waste of my time. But grilled pizza… That’s a different story.
I think I know why I haven’t grilled pizza sooner. I’m still getting used to having a backyard, and the fact that in it is a barbecue. It’s hard to believe the days of food prepping in the living room and al fresco dining on the fire escape are behind me. There were many things I loved about Brooklyn. My tiny kitchen was not one of them.
The crust on grilled pizza beats any I’ve made in the oven, even with a stone. The trick is to throw the dough on the grill, drizzle olive oil on top, and flip it 30 seconds later. Add your toppings and continue cooking. The resulting crispy crust can hold its own against a slew of toppings without getting soggy. I added fresh garlic, anchovies, capers, olives, fresh mozzarella and a variety of heirloom tomatoes. I was lucky to find Lucques olives, see what David Lebovitz says about them and you’ll know why.
Technically this is Napoletana pizza, but I call it puttanesca because it reminds me of the pasta dish. Choose whatever toppings you like, and even better if they are fresh from the farmers’ market. These organic heirlooms are from Lucero farms at the Berkeley market. You can make two portions of the dough and freeze the leftovers. Next time maybe I’ll fold the pizza in half while it’s grilling, turning it into a traditional calzone.
Pizza on the grill. One more reason life is better in Berkeley.
Whole-wheat pizza dough
1 cup very warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt-packed capers, soaked and drained
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
Lucques olives, pitted and cut in half
Fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1 inch pieces
10 Small heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Stir water, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until creamy. Stir in whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour and olive oil until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with a cotton towel. Let raise for about 1 hour.
Divide the dough in half, and roll out each piece into a large circle. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use an empty wine bottle. The dough should be thin, but be careful not to rip it.
Heat up the grill about 10 minutes before you start cooking. Put the dough directly on the grates, using a medium flame. Drizzle olive oil on top, wait 30 seconds, and flip it. Drizzle on more olive oil. Add parmesan, pecorino and fresh garlic. Next add the tomatoes, then the anchovies, capers and olives. The fresh mozzarella goes on last. Turn the BBQ flame to low and close the lid. Cook for about 6 minutes. If the bottom begins to burn, move to a different part of the grill. When the cheese melts, lightly drizzle your expensive olive oil on top.
Where I Shopped:
Heirloom Tomatoes: Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Lucero Farms
Anchovies, capers, fresh mozzarella: Monterey Market
Fresh garlic: Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Catalan Farms
Lucques Olives, pecorino, parmesan-reggiano: The Cheeseboard Collective, Berkeley