fat free opinions on a food centric life

Grilled Pizza with Rosemary: I grew it myself!

Once upon a time, I actually had some space to have a vegetable garden. It was just big enough to have beefsteak tomatoes, basil and bell peppers.  But we also had fruit trees (2 types of oranges, apricots, 2 types of plums, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, a black walnut, and loquat), blackberries, grapes, and herbs planted all over the place.  It was beautiful, but it was so much work.

For five years now, we’ve lived in a larger home, but with much less outdoor space.  So the only item I can claim to grow myself in this very small area is rosemary.  I have two bushes that I have to keep trimmed because they grow so quickly.  Unfortunately, this means I rarely get to see them bloom — a very pale blue which I love.  The bright side of it is I frequently use rosemary to season my cooking, and I never have to purchase it because it’s right outside my patio door.
Very handy!

Now that I’ve convinced you that I am a bonafide farmer (um…well…) then that means I also qualify for the Grow Your Own event being sponsored by Andrea at Andrea’s Recipes and is due TODAY!  But I was prepared.  I’ve been saving my entry just for this event because I missed the last one.  And when I  enter it in the future, you’re bound to see even more recipes from me that feature rosemary unless I can figure out how to grow something besides perennials in my patio garden. It doesn’t get as much sun as most veggies need.
The recipe I’ve chosen is key  because it introduced me to the world of grilled pizza.  Yes, it’s true.  I still have the magazine I found it in, and have used it many times when we get that urge for pizza that isn’t gooey or greasy with cheese and pepperoni.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  You can make grilled pizza gooey and greasy if you prefer that, but why would you want to?

The dough is excellent with that yeasty taste that screams home made bread.  The technique for grilling is the best one I’ve come across in the years since I found this recipe.  And the best thing about it?  The possibilities.  They’re endless.  But don’t forget the rosemary!  After all, it’s what this recipe is about.

Grilled Rosemary-crusted Pizzas with Sausage, Bell Peppers, Onions and Cheese

I’ve linked the original recipe located at epicurious — funny that the title has changed since they first published it in 1997.  I guess it was a mouthful, wasn’t it?  Below, I’ll include what we used on our pizzas recently, but I want to stress that you can put whatever you want on them.  What’s fun is to try different things.  Just raid your fridge, or hit the farmer’s market.  Most of all, use up those leftovers!  I did.  That’s where the meat came from for these pizzas.  It’s from a dinner I haven’t posted yet.  I’ll get around to it one of these days.  In the meantime, no excuses for not getting out that Barbie.  It’s not too late, yet, is it?  Well, if it is, then just cook it the old fashioned way in the oven.  I haven’t tried this recipe that way, so I can’t give you any help there.  Sorry.  It’s just so excellent grilled, why would I want to bake it?

Grilled Rosemary Pizza My Way

I use the recipe in the link above fairly strictly, but with the following considerations gleaned over the past 10 years:

  • I use a candy thermometer to make sure my water isn’t too hot for my yeast.  I shoot for 110 degrees F.  The dough comes out every single time.
  • I double the recipe because it’s great to have some in the freezer for next time.
  • I double the amount of rosemary in the recipe to 2 T so I can taste it in the crust.  The fragrance is amazing!
  • While the dough is rising, make the toppings (this includes the rosemary vinaigrette which is my favorite part of the whole recipe).

Topping Tips

  • If you plan to use something other than sausage, consider marinating it in the rosemary vinaigrette for about 30 minutes.  Pork, chicken, and shrimp are all excellent with this.  This time, I used left-over pork tenderloin, cubed it, and tossed it with the vinaigrette
  • Slice fresh tomatoes and brush with a bit of the rosemary vinaigrette
  • Choose some greens such as spinach or arugula and toss with a bit of the rosemary vinaigrette right before grilling.
  • Choose the cheese you enjoy or offer a selection.  We had fresh mozzarella, but goat’s cheese is a favorite because of the tart flavor.  It works very well with the rosemary and tomatoes.
  • Sometimes, we grill peppers which are delicious, but not this time.  If you’ve not grilled peppers, I detail the “how-to” in a previous recipe.  Check it out.
  • Sometimes, we grill onions.  If not, I’ll chop green onions, or just use chopped red onions.  This time, we had chives in the fridge.
  • Roasted garlic is excellent on this pizza (you squeeze out the garlic and smear it onto the dough), but there is quite a bit in the vinaigrette, so I opted not to this time.
  • Tapenade, pesto, and yes, pizza sauce can be used on these grilled pizzas as well.  When there are little kids around, I always have the basics for them to choose from.  They love building their own and it’s fun to watch them — as long as they aren’t too finniky — that’s when I whip out the cold weenies.
  • Put all your toppings in containers so they’re ready to use.  This goes very quickly once you’re started.

Production Tips

  • After the dough has risen and you’ve punched it down, separate it into the number of pizzas you’ll be making.  (If you make four as the original recipe calls for, please know that ONE of these pizzas can actually be a meal for two.  They’re very filling.)
  • Pat, roll, or shape each ball into a pizza sized disk on a floured surface.  Separate each piece with some plastic wrap and if you won’t be using them right away, put them in the fridge.
  • Make sure the dough isn’t too thick or it will be raw on the inside!
  • Oil that grill or the dough will stick.  Believe it or not, using a raw potato on it will really help.  Cut the potato and rub it up and down along the grill.  I can’t remember where I learned this, but it works.
  • Grill the dough disks without anything on them on one side for about 3 minutes.  Then flip them over and grill for only 1 minute.  REMEMBER which side is which!
  • Let everyone make their own.  The dough gets a bit stretched out in the grilling process, so it’s pretty easy for people to remember which one is theirs after they are on the grill.  Ours have never been round and perfect.  We like them that way.
  • Build your individual pizza on the 3 minute side.
  • Put them back on the grill (the 1 minute side down) and close the lid.  Cook until desired temperature is reached (cheese is melted, or it warm throughout.

Enjoy!  Eat them while they’re hot!