Eric Akis: On sunny days, you want grilled pizza

The pizza dough circles are toasted on one side, flipped onto a work surface, topped, and then placed back on the barbecue until hot, cooked, and delicious.

I was making homemade pizza last weekend and the weather was warm so I decided to cook it outside. I didn’t do it in a wood fired pizza oven because I don’t have one. But, like many people, I have a barbecue, a place where you can fry delicious pizza, which I did.

The hardest part is rolling out the pliable pizza dough on the grill, but the tips below will help you out. After toasting for a few minutes on one side, you then transfer the pizza crust, now easier to move, to the work surface, placing it with the toasted side up. This side of the pizza is then decorated with your favorite toppings.

The next step is to turn off one side of the grill and leave the other side on medium power. Then you carefully place the topped pizza on the unlit side of the grill, close the lid, and cook it until the cheese is melted and the dough is browned and has a nice smoky flavor.

I made the dough myself and provided the recipe, but you can also use store-bought pizza dough if you like. I didn’t give exact measurements for most of the toppings, just suggested what you can use to create a delicious pizza according to your tastes.

How to fry pizza

1. Preheat the grill to medium heat, about 400 F in the chamber. Once the pizza dough is formed into a round shape, lightly brush the top with olive oil. Grasp the two corners of the dough closest to you and in one movement, as if you were laying a tablecloth on the table; lay it flat on the grill. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t perfectly shaped. Grill the dough for two to three minutes until the bottom is golden and grill marks appear.

2. Place the pizza, seared side up, on a baking sheet or wide plate, then pour over the sauce, cheese, and other toppings.

3. Turn off one side of the grill; leave the other side on medium-high. Carefully place the topped pizza on the unlit side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dough is cooked through.

fried pizza

The pizza dough circles are toasted on one side, flipped onto a work surface, topped, and then placed back on the barbecue until hot, cooked, and delicious. The recipe can be doubled or expanded.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking: 10-15 minutes for pizza

Does: two (9 to 10 inch) pizzas

1 homemade (see recipe below) or store bought (1 lb) pizza dough

• universal flour for kneading dough

• olive oil

• 2/3 to 1 cup tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes (passata) or pizza sauce, or to taste

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, or to taste

• Various sliced, diced, cooked and/or crumbled toppings to taste, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, pepperoni, Italian sausage, prosciutto, goat cheese, fresh basil or oregano, arugula, sun- dried tomatoes, olives, cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes and/or pesto

Preheat the barbecue to medium heat, about 400 F in the chamber. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Cut the pizza dough in half. Dust your hands with flour, press down and form each half of the dough into a circle from anine to 10 inches in diameter. Place each circle on a separate wide plate or baking dish. Lightly brush the top of each dough with olive oil, then remove to the grill.

Grasp the two corners of one of the circles of dough, the corners closest to you, and in one motion, as if you were laying a tablecloth on a table, place it, oiled side down, on the wire rack. Don’t worry if it’s not already perfectly round.

Grill for two to three minutes, or until the bottom of the dough is brightly colored and has grill marks. Transfer this pizza crust back to the plate or skillet, toasted side up. Repeat these steps with another round of pizza dough.

Brush one of the grilled pizza crusts with the sauce, then top with mozzarella cheese and other toppings of your choice.

Turn off the heat on one side of the grill; leave the other side on medium-high. Carefully place the pizza on the unlit side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the dough has risen and is cooked through. Cover the second pizza crust while the first is cooking.

When the first pizza is done, check the bottom of the dough and if you want it to be a more intense color, move the pizza to the lighted side of the barbecue and cook for another minute.

Transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. Put the next pizza on the barbecue while you cut and eat the first one.

Pizza dough

This pizza dough made in a mixer can be used for the grilled pizza above.

Training: five minutes, plus time to rise

Cooking time: nobody

Does: dough for two grilled pizzas

2/3 cup warm (not hot) water

1 teaspoon active dry (traditional) yeast

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, combine water, yeast and sugar. Let stand five minutes. Now mix in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix on medium speed until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s still quite sticky, gradually add the remaining flour until it comes off the sides of the bowl. Add salt and mix and knead the dough for five minutes.

Brush a deep bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, place the dough in it, cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 75 minutes. The dough is ready to use.

eakis@timescolonist.com

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section on Wednesdays and Sundays.

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