Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grilled California Pizzas--Barefoot Bloggers

The August Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe (an optional recipe chosen by the person who links the most visitors to the Barefoot Bloggers site the previous month) is Grilled California Pizzas, chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake. The recipe can be found here at The Food Network. I flip-flopped with this recipe; I'm trying it, I'm not trying it, I am trying it, OK I'm definitely not trying it! I had a couple of issues with the recipe. First off, I am not much of a "griller" at all. I have a grill but have cooked on it myself once or twice. When it is used, it is by house guests or dinner guests that I coerce into grilling. Next up, I am not a baker and also not a bread maker--things with yeast intimidate me. Finally, I am in the thick of a busy week with quarterly business reviews going on at work and limited time.

However, remembering that the whole reason I joined the Barefoot Bloggers was to try new recipes that I might normally not try and the fact that I ended up getting to leave work a bit early had me rethinking it. I thought I would be able to get home in time to attempt the recipe and still get to eat by 7:30 PM, however I still did not want to fire up the grill. The same pizza recipe is in The Barefoot Contessa Parties (pg 48), baked in the oven instead of grilled but I wanted that "grilled look and favor". Could I get the same or similar effect by using my round grill pan on my gas stove? I decided to try.

Grilled California Pizza
Barefoot Contessa
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the toppings (select 8):
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated
1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned
1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried
6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 pork or turkey sausages, cooked and sliced
1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried
4 garlic cloves, roasted
Crushed red pepper flakes

For prep:
1/2 cup good olive oil
For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)

Light your grill and wait until it's hot. Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil. Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.
Prep Notes: I halved the recipe because it was just for me and it came together pretty easily. I kind of over olive oiled it in the bowl I think--I kind of "gluged" more in there than I thought. I heated my grill pan on high and once heated, added some olive oil and then put in the pizza round (I had to do one at a time). I am not sure exactly what I did to my first one, maybe rolled it a bit thick, but it got thick and puffy in the pan--not quite the pizza crust I had envisioned. I had enough dough for two more, so I made the second one thinner and cooked it. Much better--not too thin, not too thick, but maybe a bit more "charred" than I wanted. Since I was planning to top this first one in a different way (see Topping the Pizzas below), I just put bacon on top, then set it aside and put my final round in the grill pan, lowered the heat a bit and got it right, it was nicely browned with grill marks but not over done.

Topping The Pizzas:

Pizza 1: We sometimes use a lunch delivery service at work that delivers food from different restaurants, one being California Pizza Kitchen. Most of the time I am good and order a salad but when I feel like being bad, I order their California BLT Pizza. This pizza comes topped with bacon (warm) and then has lettuce mixed in a kind of mayo dressing, tomatoes and avocados (cold) to put on top. It's like a pizza and salad in one. Since I had a nice ripe avocado and some bacon, I decided to recreate this pizza. I made a ranch-style dressing with 2% Greek yogurt, garlic, onion salt, pepper and parsley flakes while my dough was resting. I topped the cooked pizza and bacon with the lettuce mixture, tomatoes, avocado, some additional bacon, a spot of the "dressing" in the center and sprinkled pepper on the top.

Pizza 2: For this one I kept it simple, a little prosciutto, some crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkle of basil. I grilled the pizza for one minute, flipped it, lowered the heat slightly, added the toppings and placed a lid on the pan and cooked it about 4-5 minutes more.

Much easier than I thought it would be. I liked the crust a lot, the sweetness of the honey, the fruity olive oil and the slight crunch of the cornmeal. Other than my first "puffy" pizza, the texture was good and my crust was nice and slightly chewy. My California BLT pizza was my favorite--I love the combo of the warm and cold toppings and avocado just makes everything better! The second pizza crust was cooked a bit better and the toppings were flavorful but still fairly light. I would try this recipe again, maybe even on the actual grill--although the pan works well as long as I watch the heat and the timing a bit more. Who knows, I may even try making bread after this! My plating and pictures of the pizza are not my best work but I MADE PIZZA! (And I was hungry and wanted to eat it ASAP!)
Thanks to Rebecca for a great recipe pick and tune in next Thursday for Butterflied Chicken. Since this is an optional recipe not all the Barefoot Bloggers may post it but you can check out who does here.


  1. Your pizzas look great - I love your topping suggestions.

  2. these look great and I'm so happy you tried the recipe despite your busy week!

  3. Way to conquer your yeast fears!
    I love the 'zas, especially the avacado.
    Looking forward to your new forays into the bread world!

  4. Good luck with your busy week. I hadn't planned on making this pizza, but of course after seeing yours with your brilliant toppings, I might have to do a 180.

  5. That BLT pizza makes me want to leave work, go home and do this all over again. Oh, that looks so good. I'm glad you tried the crust. It isn't so bad, huh?
    ~The Cat's Pajamas

  6. Homemade pizza is the best. I am now craving bacon and bread. Thanks Deb!

  7. Love the combo of toppings you chose!

  8. Wow, the California BLT looks amazing! That's on my list of things to try. And I'm glad to hear the grill pan works. LOVE my grill pan.

  9. Thanks everyone! I was happy they turned out pretty well! Thanks for all the support!

  10. Deb, your pizzas look amazing.

    How come no pineapple? ;-)

  11. Nate-n-Annie--you know that is the one thing I don't like on my pizza. Hope they don't deport me to the mainland! ;-)

  12. i like the california blt idea. i'm glad to see this recipe works with the pizza dough cooked in different ways. i'm not much of a grilling person.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)