While you will doubtless hear me wax poetic on the joys of doing everything from scratch, there are some days when kitchen shortcuts are the only thing standing between me and the second window. If, for instance, you have been out the night before drinking and square-dancing, as I'm SURE you just were (I knew I saw you there...loved how your hair came out, by the way!), and then worked all day, you are probably unlikely to want to start proofing yeast for pizza dough. And if you DO want to do that in such a situation, more power to you, but frankly, you have a disorder, and I fear that you will shortly come after me with a hot glue gun and the word "decoupage" on your lips.
Soo...grilled pizza it is, then! No oven to crank up and heat up your summer kitchen, toppings of whatever the hell you fancy, and no pimply teenager to tip when it's ready...total win.
Since we've already ruled out making your own dough, you are going to march yourself to the deli section of your grocery store and buy a blob of pizza dough. It's well worth the $1.50 it's going to cost you in saved effort and dough-y counter tops. While there, figure out what you want on your pizza(s), and stuff those in your cart.
As with any pizza, you can put on it whatever you want....the following recipe is what I opted for this time out, and it was damn tasty. It is key to have all your toppings ready to go before you start grilling the dough...the difference between delicious grilled pizza and briquette with toppings is about 2 minutes.
Pesto, Red Onion & Goat Cheese Grilled Pizzas
1 lb bag pre-made pizza dough
1/2 cup basil pesto (Again, as with the dough, you can be frighteningly anal and make this from scratch, or you can buy it all done for you. Since the goal of this recipe is drive-thru avoidance, I was NOT about to toast pine nuts and puree bail.)
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
about 4 0z goat cheese, crumbled
- Prise dough glob out of plastic bag, and plop into a large bowl that you've sloshed some olive oil in. Flip the dough about so it's all oily, cover with a tea towel, and walk away. You're going to let it rise for about 45 minutes.
- In a medium-sized sautee pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced red onions, and cooking, stirring frequently, until translucent with some brownish edges, about 6 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- Fire up your grill and preheat. Scrub the rust off the grill rack and vow to actually use the damn thing more than twice a year. Once the dough has risen, turn the grill heat down to low.
- Uncover dough, assume it's doubled in size, and gleefully punch it down. Divide dough into two equal sized pieces, and stretch, squish, roll and pat each into about 8-10" circles. (I think I didn't flatten mine out enough, and it ended up a bit doughy, so really try like hell to make it nice and thin.)
- Place each round on a cookie sheet, and brush the tops with a little olive oil.
- Put dough rounds on greased grill, oiled sides down. Allow to brown up about 3-4 minutes on the first side. Dough will puff up considerably. Brush oil on the tops. (I know this all seems like a lot of oil...just trust me that dough sticks very easily to the grill, and that is to be avoided.)
- Flip rounds. Bottom side should have nice grill marks and be lightly browned. Grill about 2-3 minutes. Your goal here is to have the dough ALMOST done, but not quite, before you add your toppings. I use the "poke at it and guess" technique, which while not 100% effective, is certainly easy enough.
- Now's the time to add your toppings. I slathered each round with some pesto, and then scattered some onions and goat cheese on top. Grill about 2 more minutes over a low flame.
- Turn flame off, close the lid, and let the pizzas sit in their toasty warmth for a couple minutes...this will allow the cheese to get gooey without burning the hell out the crust.
- Remove from grill. Eat. This particular combo would have been very nice with a bottle of Vouvray, but someone who shall remain nameless is still trying to work their way through a case of very, very bad beer. Next time...next time.
Makes 2 approximately 8" pizzas.