Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's not delivery...it's HOMEMADE!

I like to grill food. Shrimp, corn, steak, fish...it might be in my head, but something about grilled food screams summer and summer makes me happy. Almost anything you make in a skillet or in the oven works on the grill. So why not pizza? (Nothing against Pizza Hut, by the way...but why get delivery pizza when you can make one yourself in almost the same time it takes for one to show up at your door?)

Simply put, grilling pizza is fabulous. Our go-to favorite toppings are caramelized onions and crisp pancetta (an Italian pork product, similar to bacon but not smoky...look for it at the deli counter), but any toppings can work. Think of the grill as one of those fiery ovens in the really good pizza joints. It crisps the crust with a hint of char that you just can't get from the regular oven.

I've only made it once, so this is my attempt at explaining the technique. Experiment with your grill, as charcoal will probably produce a different result than the gas grill I used. And again, top it however you like, but if you enjoy salty pork and sweet onions, this combo is to die for.

Grilled Pancetta and Onion Pizza
serves 4 to 6
16 oz prepared pizza dough (Publix makes a great one -- ask for it in the bakery.)
2 good-sized sweet onions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
6 1/4-inch-thick slices of pancetta, diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby arugula, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. (I suppose an indoor grill would work, but it's just not quite the same...)

Divide dough in half and roll into thin circles (or as close to a circle as you can get). Brush each side with olive oil and set aside.

Slice onion into half-moons. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and stir often until onions are golden brown and very soft, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a smaller skillet over medium heat and add pancetta. Stir occasionally until crisp at the edges, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

When onions and pancetta are finished, carefully place dough on grill. After about a minute to a minute and a half (when air bubbles start to appear on the up-side), flip the dough. Remove after one minute. (You want this side to be a bit under-done so it won't burn when you put it back on.)

Off the grill, top each pizza with half of the onions, pancetta and cheese. If using a gas grill, turn off the flames and place pizzas back on grill. (If using a charcoal grill, move coals to one side and place pizza over the now cooler side of the grates or just finish in the oven so the crust doesn't burn.) Cover grill to finish cooking pizzas and to melt the cheese, about 3 to 4 minutes.

While pizza is finishing, toss arugula with lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. When pizza comes off the grill, top with arugula salad and serve.

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