Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza
Last weekend I set my Facebook status to read “once more to the lake” (thank you E.B.White!) and we packed up the car for one of my favorite traditions: Labor Day weekend with our dear friends at their beautiful Connecticut lake house. We’ve been coming out for this weekend ever since they bought this peaceful place, and over the years we have amassed quite a few traditions that we revisit faithfully every year. We always kick off by going to the Goshen State Fair, where we traditionally watch the log chopping contest, check out the prize cows and chickens and sheep, and the teenager goes on the Avalanche ride and climbs the rock wall. I would have taken pictures but my hands were totally full of deep-fried food.

Then we are back to the lake house for our weekend of traditions. We traditionally hang out in and around their pool, which is always full of fun pool toys.

Kids in Pool
Fun for kids of all ages.

Bruce in pool

We traditionally reach a point late on Saturday where the women start singing along with the stereo at the top of their lungs into wooden spoon “microphones.” (This year we performed “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, otherwise known as the theme song for “Glee.”) This is the point at which the men suddenly feel the need to flee the house and build a campfire outside. Which works out beautifully because we traditionally all eat many, many s’mores.


We traditionally have a variety of outdoor fun-in-the-sun activities. This year we had archery…


Relentless picture-taking does not usually count as an outdoor activity, but my Nikon and I are a bad influence, and it was contagious.

Lisa and camera
And there was an ongoing badminton battle throughout the weekend. Which taught the teenagers valuable life lessons.


Such as the thrill of victory….

Badminton win

And the agony of defeat.

Badminton lose

And even though one would think we wouldn’t be hungry for the rest of the weekend after eating our way through the State Fair, we do have one more beloved tradition and that is The Making Of The Grilled Pizzas. These are nifty personal size pizzas that involve making a simple thin crust dough which is cooked on the grill, then topped with fresh chopped tomatoes, a mix of fontina and parmesan cheese and topped with fresh chopped basil. We make one pizza per person, and so have a little assembly line going, because while these pizzas are pretty easy to make, they go fast at the end. But once they are done, and we are once again gathered around the table…well, let’s just say life doesn’t get any better.

Grilled Pizza
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water (8 ounces), room temperature
  • 2 cups bread flour (11 ounces), plus more for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 5-6 large tomatoes, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1½ ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 recipe Spicy Garlic Oil (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt
  1. Combine oil and water in liquid measuring cup. In food processor fitted with plastic dough blade or metal blade, process bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, slowly add liquid through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms tacky, elastic ball that clears sides of workbowl, about 1½ minutes. If dough ball does not form, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until dough ball forms. Spray medium bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Transfer dough to bowl and press down to flatten surface; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in draft-free spot until doubled in volume, 1½ to 2 hours.
  2. When dough has doubled, press down gently to deflate; turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces. With cupped palm, form each piece into smooth, tight ball. Set dough balls on well-floured work surface. Press dough rounds with hand to flatten; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, toss tomatoes and table salt in medium bowl; transfer to colander and drain 30 minutes (wipe out and reserve bowl). Shake colander to drain off excess liquid; transfer tomatoes to now-empty bowl and set aside. Combine cheeses in second medium bowl and set aside.
  1. Gently stretch dough rounds into disks about ½ inch thick and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Working one piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll out each disk to ⅛-inch thickness, 9 to 10 inches in diameter, on well-floured sheet of parchment or wax paper, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. (If dough shrinks when rolled out, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.) Dust surface of rolled dough with flour and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking sheets of rolled dough on top of each other (with parchment in between) and covering stack with plastic wrap; set aside until grill is ready.
GRILL: Light all burners and turn to medium high heat, cover grill, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes; scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush.
  1. Carefully slide dough round onto hot side of grill. Immediately repeat with another dough round. Cook (with grill lid down) until tops are covered with bubbles (pierce larger bubbles with paring knife) and bottoms are grill marked and charred in spots, 2 to 3 minutes; while rounds cook, check undersides and slide to cool area of grill if browning too quickly. Transfer crusts to cutting board browned sides up. Repeat with 2 remaining dough rounds.
  2. Brush 2 crusts generously with Spicy Garlic Oil; top each evenly with one-quarter of cheese mixture and one-quarter of tomatoes. Return pizzas to grill and cover grill with lid; cook until bottoms are well browned and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes, checking bottoms frequently to prevent burning. Transfer pizzas to cutting board; repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Sprinkle pizzas with basil and coarse salt to taste; cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Spicy Garlic Oil
  1. 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (4 tsp)
  2. ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  3. ⅓ cup olive oil
  4. Cook all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to sizzle, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

GRILLED PIZZA, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Still Hungry?

Bacon Rosemary Pizza, from Framed Cooks

How To Grill Pizza, from The Kitchn

Apple Bacon Pizza, from Framed Cooks


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  1. kimchi says

    I love grilled pizza! That is one of my favorite summertime treats. Sometimes we make them at the picnic table and have a variety of ingredients out and everyone can make one to order. It is definitely a fun way to have fresh pizza without heating up the kitchen :)


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