Grilled pizza is a sort of miracle in my family, one that only comes into being when we’re all home together. In part this is because grilling pizza is a multi-person activity–it’s least stressful when you have one person to deal with the fire and two to assemble the pizza quickly once you slap the dough on the grill. In part it’s also because I think (I think…) my parents lack faith in the ability of pizza dough to resist the lure of the flames–when we first made it there were a number of questions along the lines of “well wait…isn’t the dough going to flop through the grates?”

It doesn’t flop, as it turns out. But I find you do need to assemble the pizza after you’ve put the dough on the grill, unless you’re really super handy with a pizza peel and can get the whole thing to disembark without losing its toppings. The vagaries of grilling all apply–your crust may be a bit burnt in places, and you might want to stash the finished pizzas in the oven for a while to finish cooking. But you’re not my father’s daughter if you don’t like a little burnt crust, and a little trial and error around the fire.

I’m pretty fond of this combination because it’s one of the few vehicles for chard that I don’t find distasteful (this is probably because there’s a grand total of one chard leaf per serving). The quick pickled shallots cut through the cheesiness very well–sometimes white pizzas can get a little too unctuous and the pickled bits keep this pizza real. Burnt crust for all.

Grilled Pizza with Chard, Chevre, and Pickled Shallots
serves 2-3

1/2 recipe pizza dough, patted out into pizza shape and ready to go (recipe and technique here)
1 small shallot, sliced very thin
apple cider vinegar
8-12 chard leaves
1/3 C crumbled chevre
2/3 C grated mozzarella
salt and pepper and olive oil

Put the sliced shallot in a small bowl and cover with apple cider vinegar. Stir every once in a while and let sit for 30 minutes. The shallot will turn a pretty pink. Preheat your indoor oven to 325.

Meanwhile, fire up your grill. My dad’s the grillmaster so I don’t know the particular techniques, but if you’re working with charcoal you want glowing coals, not flames, in an area roughly the size of your pizza. If you have a gas grill, medium heat all the way. (Perhaps my father can be cajoled into leaving a comment with fire-related advice…)

Assemble a little mise en place. All the toppings should be ready at hand and easy to scatter. Drain the shallots, give them a very quick rinse, and add them to your platter.

Now, put the pizza dough on a well-floured peel or flat sheetpan (or the bottom side of a sheetpan with sides). Take the lid off the grill and slide the dough onto the area with the coals.

Here it helps to have two people. First, one of you applies the chard–a double layer of leaves is perfect because they wilt down considerably. Next, the other sprinkles on the pickled shallots. Then you each apply a cheese. Don’t worry about perfection. You’re not dominoes; you’re rogue pizza grillers! Finally, one of you drizzles the whole project with some extra virgin olive oil while the other finishes with a fine dusting of salt and fresh pepper. Your dad/guardian/resident pyromaniac then slaps the lid back on the grill.

Check the pizza in 4 minutes, and using your pizza peel or flat sheetpan, try to rotate the pizza a little. Put the lid back on. At this point my guidance will only be so helpful–it’s time to start checking the crust every minute or two (a big spatula is helpful for looking at its underbelly). In a really hot brick oven pizzas take 6-8 minutes. That’s a good number to keep in mind. Remove the pizza from the grill when the crust is done; even if the toppings don’t look quite as wilted or melty as you like you can finish them in your indoor oven. Slide the pizza into the preheated oven and let it hang out there for another 5 minutes, or until it looks delicious.

Remove the pizza to a cooling rack, cut it up, and serve.

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