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Grilled Pizza Margherita

Your grill is the perfect pizza “oven.” The fire gives the crust a nice crackle and char and the toppings a smoky flavor. Be sure to let the grill get good and hot before putting on the dough.

Ingredients:

For the pizza dough:

  • 2/3 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
  • 1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

  • Bread flour for dusting
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 2 cups marinara sauce or 30 to 40 plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced, or low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the pizza dough, in a bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the 2 cups flour, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Pull the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times, then form into a ball. Oil a second bowl, put the ball of dough in the bowl and turn to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free area. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Dump the dough onto a floured work surface, then divide into 4 equal portions. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out each portion into an 8-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Brush the edge of each round with olive oil.

Dust a pizza peel or the underside of a baking sheet with cornmeal and slide 1 dough round onto the peel. Then carefully slide the round off the peel onto the grill directly over the heat. Repeat with the remaining 3 rounds. Cook the crusts until the underside is nicely grill-marked, about 2 minutes. Using the peel, transfer the crusts, grilled side up, back to the work surface.

Top each crust with one-fourth of the marinara sauce or tomato slices, then top with one-fourth each of the cheese, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Using the peel, return the pizzas to the grill, cover the grill, and cook until each crust is firm and browned at the edges and the cheese has melted a bit, 4 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the pizzas to a cutting board, cut into wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011).