Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grilling pizza, the debriefing

Compared to the first pizza grilling experience, this time was much more successful. Ross did a great job on the dough, and it was incredibly easy to coax out into a thin round. The tricky part was getting it onto the grill in a shape that still resembled pizza and didn't have a ton of overlapping thick bits. In the first pizza grilling trial the dough was too thick and the grill too hot, so the crust actually charred before it was done all the way through. In response to that, I made these crusts very thin, too thin I think, but the happy medium will have to wait until Pizza Grill, part 3.

The photo above is of the final two pizzas (on the left, sauce and vegan cheese ["It melts!" says the package]; and on the right, mozzarella, Parmesan, red onions, yellow onions, green onions, and caramelized onions. That pizza was topped, after coming off the grill, with flat leaf parsley and marjoram). I think we hit upon something important when we divided the final pizza ball into two (to make these two smaller pizzas). Not only were they easier to handle, but they seemed to cook better and the cheese (where there was cheese) got more bubbly and delicious.

Grilling pizza is incredibly novel, and the grill (I'm sure this is even more pronounced with a charcoal grill) imparts a smoky flavor you don't get from oven-baked pizza, plus the grill lines are exciting. And though I'd certainly do this again (in the cookbook American Pie, the author assures readers that by the sixth time grilling pizza, you'll have it totally down, and based on how much better we got between time one and two, I think that's a reasonable promise), I don't think it's going to replace my love of oven-baked pizza.

A quick overview of the good and the bad:

Good: Grill marks, smoky flavor, outdoor activity, doesn't heat up the kitchen in summer

Bad: Cheese never achieves that golden brown, the cooking time is much shorter so you have to rush to add the ingredients and you don't get even coverage, difficult to get an even round onto the grill without messing up the shape.

And after pizza, another kind of pie when AJ arrived with an apricot pie. Delicious.
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