Yes, you can cook pizza on a backyard grill, and no, you don’t have to be a professional chef to do it. Just take a deep breath and have faith the crust won‘t stick to the grates. Truly, it won’t.
This vegetarian recipes celebrates the great tastes of summer. I couldn‘t yet find eggplant at my local farmers market so substituted grilled zucchini. For added brightness, toss the argula with a little lemon juice and olive oil.
If you don‘t want to make dough from scratch, Trader Joe’s sells a pretty good pre-made option. Be sure to stretch or roll it as thin as possible, and don‘t worry if the shape isn’t perfect — organically shaped crusts are part of the charm of grilled pizza.
1 ball prepared pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
1 tablespoon garlic oil
3 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
10 to 12 roasted eggplant slices
⅓ cup fresh corn kernels, cut from about ½ small ear, blanched
¼ cup sliced or diced oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained, or ⅓ cup roasted cherry tomatoes
⅓ cup cold fresh goat cheese, crumbled while still cold
15 to 20 whole mint leaves or torn bigger leaves or 1 tablespoon finely sliced mint leaves
1 cup loosely packed baby arugula leaves
Heat gas grill by turning all burners to high.
Invert a sheet pan and brush generously with olive oil. Take dough, plop it on sheet pan and spread dough out with fingers into a thin (⅛- to ¼-inch-thick) free-form shape about 10 inches in diameter.
Lower one burner to low heat.
Using two hands, pick up two corners of dough like a hanky and gently but quickly drape it over the hottest burners, letting the bottom edges tough down first. The dough will lengthen and stretch out during the time it takes you to get it on the grill. That’s OK! Thin is good. Don‘t worry if you have a very thin spot or hole.
The dough will immediately begin to puff. Close grill top and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, check underside of dough. It should be marked with grill marks and very lightly browned all over. If not, close grill top and continue cooking for another minute. Uncover and check again. If it looks good, flip dough over so browned side is up.
Move dough to cooler part of grill. Brush top generously with garlic oil. Sprinkle dough with 2 tablespoons Parmigiano. Distribute the eggplant slices, corn kernels, tomatoes and goat cheese over the dough. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon Parmigiano and a dash of kosher salt.Drizzle with olive oil.
Using tongs, transfer pizza back over hot part of grill, Close lid and cook until underside is browned and marked and toppings are warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. If at any time pizza is getting too brown, move over to cool side of grill.
Bring a cutting board to grill and using tongs, pull the cooked pizza directly onto the board. Top with mint and arugula. Let cool 1 to 2 minutes, then cut into pieces using a pizza wheel or chef’s knife. Serve right away.
Makes 1 pizza.
-- Adapted from “The Fresh & Green Table” by Susie Middleton (Chronicle, $24.95)
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Gretchen McKay: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.