Ready-made dough, as she also opined, is the way to go. Sure, you could mix up your own with high-protein flour and rapid-rise yeast for just a few cents. But why bother when a pizzeria will make it so much better than you can?
That’s why I buy several balls of Kaleidoscope’s dough whenever it’s convenient and stash them in my freezer. While Kaleidoscope’s is widely considered the valley’s best pizza, it no longer makes an eggplant pie that captivated me several years ago. So I have to make my own. Fortunately, I have a bumper crop of eggplants still coming on strong in my garden, as well as several varieties of peppers.
Here’s a recipe that uses both, plus those last garden zucchini. Saturday’s warmer weather would be the ideal time to squeeze in one last salute to grilling, with grilled pizza — covered in a previous post — a nice bridge between summer and fall.
I’ve been grilling pizza for the past five years, discovering it with a dear friend on her front-porch hibachi. Occasionally, I can still wow friends by grilling up a few pies, like the fig jam, prosciutto and blue cheese pie pictured in the photo album “Cooking From the Garden” on my Facebook page.
Even if you’re not aiming for a “diet” pizza of the sort Jan proposed, grilling pizza basically produces just that. You want to go light on the cheese — and other toppings, for that matter — because the dough won’t rise as much on the grill and easily gets bogged down.
Crispier pizza crust is achieved, I’ve found, by skipping the base of sauce, brushing the crust with olive oil, as Jan suggested, and sprinkling with a bit of cheese, then just dolloping some sauce around the other toppings. This technique was highlighted on one of the food-themed television shows I watch.
It’s no coincidence that the following grilled-pizza recipe courtesy of McClatchy News Service omits sauce entirely. It’s ready in 30 minutes.
Grilled Veggie Pizza
1 pound pizza dough
2 teaspoons cornmeal, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds
8 mini red bell peppers, cut in half
Canola oil, for grilling
Fresh mozzarella slices or cheese of choice
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil leaves
Prepare grill for medium heat: about 350 to 375 F.
Cut the pizza dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, press 1 piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the cornmeal and transfer rolled-out dough to sheet. Repeat with remaining cornmeal and dough.
Brush dough with about 1⁄2 teaspoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Place the vegetables on a large, sided baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn vegetables over and repeat with oil, salt and pepper.
When ready to grill, brush grill grates with the canola oil. Close lid and wait for 5 minutes.
Arrange vegetables on grill and grill for a few minutes on 1 side or until nicely marked. Turn them over and grill for several minutes more or until crisp-tender. Remove from grill, cover with foil and keep warm.
Place dough on grate and grill for about 3 to 4 minutes or until nicely marked. Flip and brush with a little more olive oil and seasonings. Arrange grilled vegetables on top. Top with the cheese, close lid and grill for about 5 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese melts. Before serving, sprinkle pizza with the basil. Makes 2 (10-inch round) pizzas.