One of the skills we are trying to master this summer is great pizza on the grill. Pizza dough is not hard to make. It is basically flour, yeast, water and oil. If you have a bread machine it is even easier. But I have not been happy with the standard recipe. The dough is too elastic and forming it into a large disc is like fighting a recalcitrant child. Even after you have fought it into shape, transferring it to the grill takes agility. I have been receiving the King Arthur Flour catalogs in the mail and was intrigued by their Perfect Pizza Flour Blend and Pizza Dough Flavor. I ordered them a few weeks ago and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
I think I have discovered the aroma that will have everyone stopping in their tracks and exclaiming ” Oh my, what is that cooking ?”. That was just my reaction when my Daughter-In-Law, Kristen cooked dinner for us last week. The aroma in question was caused by leeks sweating in white wine and butter. It actually topped my all time favorite scent of apple pie with cinnamon baking in the oven. She was making us a simple meal of goat cheese and leek galette with a strawberry poppy seed salad. It took her only one half hour to put together, but the anticipation created by the homey smells in the kitchen made it one of the most delicious meals I have eaten in a while.
I made the galette again last night. It was just as I remembered it. The original recipe came from Epicurious. Kristen and I both made changes to the recipe. Instead of flavoring it with marjoram, I used dried basil and thyme. I substitued the unflavored goat cheese with a tomato and basil goat cheese. Kristen and I both used the Pillsbury thin pizza crust.
The salad that Kristen put together was colorful and full of “good for you” tasty ingredients. The strawberries, avocado and baby spinach were accented with green onions, cashews and a good bottled poppy seed dressing. Kristen is a busy working Mother and these are the kinds of meals she cooks on a regular basis. I would say that she is on the right track. I will have her share more of her meal ideas in the future.
For the dough
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced
Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.
CARAMELIZED ONION, GOAT CHEESE AND WALNUT PIZZA
3 large onions, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 of pizza dough or about 12 oz of purchased dough
1/4 lb. crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola cheese
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil
Heat olive oil in 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook onions with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Prepare grill. If using a gas grill heat to about 400 degrees. Spray grill with cooking oil.
Stretch dough into an 8″ circle on a sheet pan. Brush top with olive oil. Lift dough from sheet pan and place dough directly on grill, oiled side down, and brush top side of dough with oil. Close grill and cook for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes until bottom of dough is nicely browned. Remove dough from grill and place on sheet pan cooked side up and add the caramelized onions, walnuts, crumbled cheese and herbs. Return pizza to grill and cook underside of dough for 1 1/2 minutes or until it is browned. Remove and serve.
CHICKEN AND PEPPERS PIZZA
1 cooked chicken breast shredded
1/2 of a green or yellow pepper sliced
8 oz. pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 of pizza dough or 12 oz of purchased dough
basil leaves for garnishing.
Saute pepper briefly in a little olive oil. Add shredded chicken to pizza sauce.
Prepare grill. If using a gas grill heat to 400 degrees. Spray grill with cooking oil.
Stretch dough into an 8″ circle on a sheet pan. Brush top with olive oil. Lift dough from sheet pan and place dough directly on grill, oiled side down, and brush top side of dough with oil. Close grill and cook for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes until bottom of dough is nicely browned. Remove dough from grill and place on sheet pan cooked side up and add pizza sauce and chicken mixure, peppers and both cheeses. Return pizza to grill and cook underside of dough for 1 1/2 minutes or until it is browned. Remove pizza and garnish with basil and serve.
These are just my combinations from what I had on hand. You can add anything that appeals to you. Grilled pizza has now become my new summer tradition.