Sunday, August 25, 2013

Foodie Fare - Grilled Pizza - By Brian Rounds

How is it even possible that camp has ended and school starts next week? We are seeing some heat this week and with this heat comes the inclination to cook outside.  At my house, this means cooking on the grill. I know, I know, I’ve done the grill thing, but I’m throwing in a curve ball here – I’ve not done pizza on the grill. This week’s Foodie Fare is all about my accidental grilled pizza.

Typically, I frown upon the use of processed foods. I love fresh food.  That being said, I was in a time pinch trying to crank out something tasty for my mother and I to enjoy while doing some last minute prep work for my wedding this past May. I opened the fridge and found ready-made pizza crusts (my wife uses them to make pizza for herself when I’m not around), some shredded cheese (cheddar and Monterey Jack mixture), a link of kielbasa, and half of a shallot. It was warm that day, just like it is now, so I didn’t want to use the oven. I began to think and as I was moving my grill on the deck so that I had some extra space to get to the clothes line, it clicked – grill it!

I pulled out some foil, flipped the crust over and basted it with olive oil and then sprinkled it with salt and pepper. After flipping it back over, I spread some marinara sauce on top then layered the shallots (sliced, thin, of course) and kielbasa. I topped the pizza off with the shredded cheese. To add just a little more flavor, I sprinkled some chopped garlic on top.  Knowing this was an experiment, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how long to cook it. I cranked up the grill and got it to sit around 450 degrees.  I placed my pizza, on the foil, on the top rack of the grill and closed the top.  I checked on it every five minutes or so and found that it was cooking perfectly. It was on the grill for no longer than fifteen minutes.

When the pizza came off, and was sliced, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bottom of the crust picked up a lot of color, but was not burnt, and was super crispy. Upon our first taste of the pizza, we found ourselves enjoying the flavors that were created by the grill and by the olive oil on the bottom of the crust. Yesterday, made a pizza the same way only I used cream cheese instead of marinara, and I added some Italian sausage. It was to die for! Definitely a great alternative to homemade pizza on a hot day!

Any prepared pizza crust (like Boboli)
Marinara Sauce
Shredded Cheese (cheddar or a cheddar blend is best)
Toppings of your choice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Baste the bottom of your crust with olive oil (use a pastry brush), and season with salt and pepper.  Flip the crust over, spread with marinara and top with your favorite toppings. Finally sprinkle with shredded cheese. You want to be able to still see your toppings through the cheese.

Use cream cheese instead of marinara.  Do not use any shredded cheese for this.
Use alfredo sauce instead of marinara. Use mozzarella instead of cheddar.

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