Since it is Memorial Day weekend, what better way to celebrate than by firing up the grill (and putting the flag up, of course)? As a vegetarian, it can be more challenging to come up with a really great meal to make on the grill, but my all-time favorite is grilled pizzas.
Last night we made pizzas with caramelized fennel and onions, goat cheese, asiago, and arugula, and they were absolutely delicious.
The other one is a grilled potato, sundried tomato, and mozzarella pizza — it was good, but not as awesome as the main one. The real star was the goat cheese: local Pure Luck chèvre.
The caramelized onions and fennel were also awesome. Hubby sliced the onions and fennel bulbs thin, and then caramelized them in butter and olive oil in a cast-iron skillet.
He also whipped up a sundried tomato and anchovy paste for a couple of the pizzas, which was a great addition.*
*Yes, I tried it. Nope, not vegetarian — I occasionally eat fish.
This was a super-easy meal, since we made and froze the crusts last weekend, and once the fennel and onions were caramelized, there was really no more prep work other than topping the pizzas and throwing them on the grill to finish.
I tried my hand at from-scratch pizza dough for the first time last weekend (hubby is usually on dough duty), and I was thrilled with the results. Since the process can be a bit tricky the first time you do it, I am including a photo tutorial on how to stretch and shape the dough. Once the dough is made, you can check out this post on how to grill the pizzas, and more a few more topping ideas. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Adapted from a recipe for Garlic-Herb Pizza Dough in The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus extra for dusting hands and work surfaces
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups warm water (110°)
Place the flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix briefly to combine on low speed. Slowly add the water and continue to mix on low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled deep bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half.
Press the dough down with your fist and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a smooth, round ball and cover them with a damp cloth.
Let the dough relax for at least 5 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes. Working with one ball of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough into a round about 1/2-inch thick.
Use one hand to hold the dough in place and the other to stretch the dough outward. Rotate a quarter-turn and stretch the dough again.
Continue turning and stretching until the dough will not stretch any further. It should be about 1/4-inch thick.
Use the flat of your palm to press down and flatten any thick edges. Transfer the dough rounds to lightly floured baking sheets, and cover with a damp cloth until ready to use.
Don’t forget these can be partially cooked (stop when you’d ordinarily put your toppings on) and then frozen to use later. We always do this with any extra crusts, and it makes for a wonderfully easy dinner later!