There is something so pure about a margherita pizza – nothing like a little basil and tomato with cheese on grilled flatbread to make dinner special. I am a big fan of grilling pizzas, and also a big fan of the Food Network show “Good Eats” with Alton Brown - so when I saw the most recent Alton Brown pizza recipe (from “Flat is Beautiful V”) happened to be a grilled margherita pizza, I couldn’t help but give it a try. Now, I had never made a quality margherita pizza at home. The flavors never seem quite right when I tried putting it together myself; I now realize it’s probably because I did not marinate or cook the tomatoes first. I used my usual go-to pizza dough rather than the variety Alton made because…well, who keeps barley malt syrup on hand? (Actually, we do have it on hand, but it’s specially designated for our upcoming home-brewing adventure, as we’re planning on brewing an apricot IPA in the next few days and my husband would not be happy with me if I used it!) The recipe is not yet posted on foodnetwork.com, however I was able to find it on a fellow Alton Brown fan’s website. The key here is the marinating and grilling the tomatoes - the depth of the flavors is much better if you follow this step. Plus, it would probably be messy if you tried to crush uncooked tomatoes on a grilled pizza crust.
Grilled Margherita Pizza - adapted from Alton Brown, via Lisa from ‘All About Alton’
- 1/2 recipe pizza dough
- olive oil
- 1 large tomato, thickly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4-5 basil leaves, julienned
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup asiago cheese
Place tomato, garlic, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes into a bowl and stir to coat the tomatoes. Let sit for 20 minutes or so as you prepare your crust. For the crust – first, make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature before you use it! Place pizza dough on a floured surface and roll to 1/4 inch thickness using a rolling pin. Make sure to rotate your dough after each pass with the rolling pin so that it does not stick to your surface! After dough has reached desired thickness, place it onto a floured pizza peel. Brush with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat your trusty grill – no pizza stone this time folks! When your grill has finished preheating, take the pizza peel with dough on it and flip it directly onto the grill – if it sticks a little just give it a nudge with a spatula and it will come off. At the same time, place the slices of marinated tomato directly onto the grill. Grill the crust until it starts to form little bubbles as the dough bakes. Brush with another 1-2 tsp of olive oil, then using the pizza peel, lift it off the grill and flip over. At this point, the tomatoes should be pretty well cooked through – lift them off the grate and place directly onto the pizza crust, mashing them with the back of your spatula into the crust. Sprinkle the pizza with the basil, mozarella, and asiago cheeses. Cook until the cheese melts.