Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grilled Pizza Margherita with Pancetta

Grilling pizza turns an already favorite food into something even more special. The key to making fresh dough easy to work with on the grill? Make small pies!

Medium- or large-sized pizza dough can be unwieldy and a little difficult to keep from sticking on one side and burning on the other if the fire and timing (and luck) aren’t exactly right. Simply cut your dough into small pieces, roll them out to about seven- or eight-inch diameter pies, and you’re ready to go. For this recipe, I had a 14-ounce dough, which I cut into three pieces, and those pieces rolled out to just under eight-inch diameter. (Don't worry about perfect circles—they don't happen.)

The smaller pies make positioning and shifting on the grill much easier—you can turn them with a single spatula.

When you’re grilling pizza, it’s also important to keep the toppings to a minimum. They need to get hot (and the cheese to melt) in the short amount of time it takes to grill the dough before it chars. If you’re including a topping that needs time to cook (as the pancetta here), do that first. (Since I already had the grill fired up, I cooked the meat in a cast-iron skillet on it. Of course, you can cook it on the stovetop instead.)

Traditional pizza margherita includes only tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. I added the pancetta to make it a little heartier dish to serve three.

If you don’t already have your favorite fresh pizza dough recipe, here’s the one I used: Pizza with Prosciutto, Red Onion, and Fresh Tomatoes.

Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • flour, for dusting
  • 14-oz fresh pizza dough, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 1/4 lb thinly sliced pancetta
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella (from an 8-oz ball), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Cut Dough into Pieces
Sliced Mozzarella
  1. Light a grill for medium heat.
  2. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt. Cook, stirring a few times, until slightly thickened and reduced by about 1/4, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Garlic in Oil 
Reduced Tomato Sauce
  1. Lightly flour a large cutting board. Place each piece of dough on the board and roll into about an 8-inch circle. Cover with a clean kitchen towel until ready to grill.
Roll out the Dough
  1. Brush a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and heat on the grill. Add the pancetta and cook until just beginning to crisp in places, 10 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a plate and remove the skillet from the grill.
  2. Brush the topsides of the dough with oil. Grill oil-side down until lightly charred, 3-4 minutes. (Shift the position of the pieces about halfway through to allow even browning.) Tip: Brush any remaining flour from the board and keep it handy by the grill. 
  3. Transfer the dough grilled-side down back to the cutting board. Brush the topsides with oil and turn each over. Spread each with tomato sauce and top with mozzarella slices. Divide the cooked pancetta on top of the cheese.
  4. Place the pizzas back on the grill and grill until browned and crisp on the bottom, 3-4 minutes, shifting positions halfway through. 
Pancetta Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Pancetta
Dough Beginning to Grill
Halfway Through 
Brush the Other Side with Oil
Tomato and Cheese Layer
Pancetta Added 
Pizzas Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Pizzas
Basil Added 
Transfer the pizzas back to the cutting board and sprinkle with basil ribbons. Cut each into serving pieces and serve hot.

Grilled Pizza Margherita with Pancetta

No comments:

Post a Comment