A careful look at last night’s pizza reveals democracy in action.
Who says you can’t please everyone?
–This pizza says ‘Yes you can!’
The Polls Have Closed and Final Pizza-Making Results Are Now In:
After lengthy negotiations and subtle pressure from various food groups and factions, our analysts have determined that a 75% preference for mushrooms was splintered by various population segments voting for crimini while others held out for regular plain white mushrooms.
The sundried tomato lobby exerted subtle pressure and wound up with a 50% showing, while conservatives maintained a traditional “just-sauce-and-cheese-please” approach for the left lower quarter.
A peaceful resolution was not fully secured until the rocker knife had finalized the agreed-upon boundaries.
Then you’d just fire it up and hope your stone doesn’t crack with the thermal shock of sudden temperature rises and falls when you lift the hood to check on your pizza. But you decide you’d better search for pizza-grilling recipes and techniques first.
You’re shocked and daunted by the number of recipes calling for you to lay your dough directly on the grill, then, halfway through, lift and flip the dough, build your pizza on the half-baked base, and return it to the flames. Yikes. A little char can be nice, but this baby’s bound to burn.
Here’s an example of this daring outdoor adventure:
Please have your fire department on speed dial before you (literally) light up.
I’ve thought about this problem and come up with the solution: our Pizza Grill Kit.
Pizza Grill Kit
I decided the best approach is to turn my grill into an outdoor pizza oven. A thick, heavy, 14-inch diameter cast iron pizza pan stands in for the stone. You place it on your grill or barbecue to heat up. (By the way, this technique works on gas and charcoal grills.)
Pull pizza dough onto perforated pizza disk
Meanwhile, you lightly oil the kit’s perforated pizza disk, stretch your pizza dough, and slide it onto the disk. Then you give the dough its final shaping and start building your pizza.
Finish building your pizza on the perforated disk
The disk’s perforations keep the pizza dough dry and crusty in the baking process. It also eliminates the need for cornmeal or flour to slide the pizza onto the “stone.”
When the pizza you assembled on the disk is ready to bake, you place the pizza, still on its disk, onto the aluminum peel and slide it onto the now hot cast iron pizza pan on your grill.
Slide your pizza & its disk onto the hot cast iron pizza pan
Then close the grill’s hood, checking every few minutes quickly to see how it’s baking without losing heat.
Close the grill’s hood to get a pizza oven effect
You can use the kit’s two pan grippes help you adjust the pizza on the cast iron pan and rotate the pizza for even cooking.
Pan grippes help you maneuver pizza for perfect baking
When your pizza’s done, slide the peel back under the disk and remove the pizza to a heat and flame resistant surface.
Slide your pizza on its disk out of the grill
Slice and serve.
Leave the cast iron pizza pan on the grill to bake more pizzas or gradually cool down. But then remove it so overnight condensation doesn’t cause corrosion of the cast iron.
Of course you’ll also get great pizza making results with this kit in your kitchen oven.
How do you make pizza on your outdoor grill or barbecue? I’d love to see pictures and explanations.
And if you’ve tried our Pizza Grill Kit, please report in how it worked for you.
As I stretched out the pizza dough for my large mushroom pizza, it pulled inches beyond my wooden peel, and I realized I had some dough to play with.
Mini Anchovy Pizza Made in a Flash
Even when I’m making one pizza, I use two pizza stones on two shelves to get a brick oven effect. So I could easily make a small extra pizza.
I sliced off the excess, overhanging dough from the large pizza, rolled it back into a ball, then quickly stretched it out into a six-inch diameter disk and laid it on a second wood peel.
I had to act quickly because the first pizza would be slowly settling onto its peel and could start to stick if I didn’t get it made up and in the oven quickly.
So I built the mushroom pizza while the other mini pizza base waited.
Since this mini second pizza would bake faster in the oven, I slid the large pizza onto the first pizza stone, then quickly turned to the mini.
In a white flash of inspiration I decided to make a white pizza.
I had an open can of anchovies from making the accompanying Caesar’s salad. (Someday I’ll share this recipe.) I smeared the dough with light coating of oil from the can just to set the fishy theme.
Then I broke a slice of provolone cheese into a few pieces to loosely cover the oil.
Next I unrolled a remaining anchovy filet, broke it into little bits, and distributed them over the pizza. I included its caper, too. Any excess anchovy on my fingers got wiped onto this palette as well.
I finished this baby off with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and, lastly, a drizzling of just a few shreds of Parmesan and mozzarella.
Because this pizza was so small and light, there was no need for cornmeal to facilitate sliding it onto the stone.
Its small size also meant it baked quickly enough to time out with the larger pizza that had a head start.
Actually, next time I would bake the mini pizza for an even shorter time. At 550 degrees F, small pizzas with light ingredients bake in a few minutes.
You can pretty much recreate this little gem, but I’m not offering it here so much as a recipe for a particular pizza, but as a recipe for pizza making:
When pizza-making opportunities come up in the moment, make the most of them.
Try something new. Surprise yourself. That’s one way to keep pizza really fresh.
3: Or you can roll up your sleeve, reach in, and do it by hand. If you’re not squeamish, this is faster and easier than the potato masher. Beware of squeezing or mashing the romas too suddenly. They may squirt. For extra squirt security—or just not to witness the carnage—you can toss a dishtowel over the bowl at least for the initial slaughter.
You’ve just done the hardest part of making this fresh pizza sauce.
Really. Now just sprinkle in salt, perhaps a little black pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Fresh Pizza Sauce Options:
Taste it, and decide if it needs a sprinkle of sugar to round it out. Do this a little at a time. With pizza sauce, too sweet is probably worse than not sweet enough.
Add fresh basil or oregano. This really puts the ‘fresh’ in this fresh sauce.
(In a future post, I’ll show you how to have ‘fresh’ basil on hand all year and never waste another leaf.)
Your sauce is ready to make a great pizza! Pizza Spoodle in Action
I occasionally also sneak a little red wine into the sauce. Just a tablespoon or so.
Please share your experiences and variations with this great pizza sauce recipe.