Friday, August 14, 2009

Recipe: Grilled Reuben Pizza?

I have been meaning to do a remake of one of my favorite grilled treats (pizza!) for some time now. Actually, pizza is one of my favorite treats in any form, but the grill takes it to another level. My recipe for the dough (you can find below) is superior in every form to ANY kind of dough you might buy and to the busted pre-made crusts (read: Boboli). Not to mention it costs around $.50 all said and done. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to let it rise. The yeast needs to feast (ew) and this takes time (and warm water).

So if you are planning on using the dough recipe below, give yourself at least 2 hours to let it rise. Punch it down after about 45 minutes and again after another 45. Keep it covered, in a lightly oiled bowl somewhere warm. Alternatively, make it the night before, let it rise for about 45-an hour, cover with Saran wrap and then throw it in the fridge. Just be sure to pull it out and let it come to room temperature before using it the next day. This method results in dough that is MUCH easier to manipulate. This is also an AWESOME dough for cooking in the oven on a pizza stone, but that is a different post altogether…

Right now we are focusing on grilled pizza. Okay, so you pull your dough out, let it warm up, and grab a baking tray. By now, your grill should be hot. I used my Weber propane last night because I didn’t feel like dealing with charcoal in the rain - which is a great reason for having a propane grill. Also, when feeding a larger crowd, it makes life easier to use two grills, and the ease of propane has been a tremendous help in getting food out at some of my larger BBQ’s. That aside, let it be known that I am a huge proponent of charcoal grills and smokers. If it makes sense, I will use it. Being that I hadn’t made my grilled pizza in a while (and seeing that the weather was not cooperating), I went with propane.

I kept the back burner at medium and the front at high. This allowed me to regulate how hot the crust was getting and prevent burning, which I admittedly did quite skillfully. So back to the dough: lightly oil a baking sheet and begin stretching the dough out. One of the beautiful things about grilled pizza is that it’s SUPPOSED to be misshapen. That gives it the rustic look you are going for. After you have your dough stretched to where you want it (about ¼ inch thick), slide it around on the oiled pan. This helps to keep it loose when sliding it onto the grill. If you have a pan without a lip (or a pizza peel) - that would work even better.

The grill was hot, so I gave it a quick spray of olive oil in-a-can (from Trader Joe’s – an absolute necessity in the kitchen) and proceeded to attempt the sliding of the pizza onto the grates. Well, it was a being a bit difficult, so I loosened it up on the pan and flipped the pan all at once, inverting the stretched dough onto the grill’s surface. It got a little rolled over on one side, but I flattened it with my grill spatula and was all set. Keeping the lid open, I let it go for about 5 minutes, scooping the spatula under it to ensure that it wasn’t sticking. Not a problem. I had no stick-age issues because of the high heat. Now at this point, you will see the dough forming to the grill racks. Perfect. It will start to turn a bit darker tan on top, so scoop under to make sure the bottom side is getting those beautiful parallel grill marks. When you are satisfied with its progress (this will be the ingredients side), wipe or spray some olive oil on the top side, get tongs and a spatula, and flip it. It’s really quite easy at this point.

Here’s where you can really get creative. While I would generally suggest doing some simple ingredients such as cherry or sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, & basil to finish or pesto, or something of that nature; well – let’s just say I tend to really throw it down. Next time I will do something delicate and less complicated, but here I was really in an experimental mood.

Fresh off of a delicious Rueben from Kibitz last week, I was still craving corned beef. So I spread both sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing as the base (my sauce, if you will), layered deli-sliced corned beef on top of it, spread a few healthy smudges of Dijon mustard on that, then smothered it all with Lacey Swiss slices, and topped with freshly chopped dill pickles. I thought the mustard might have been pushing it, but that was hardly the case. Its spicy tang complemented the salty meat and pickles, the sharp and creamy Swiss, and the sweet thousand-island perfectly. It was the perfect storm of flavors; my mouth is watering as I write this.

Now, when you add the ingredients to the freshly flipped side, work fast, as you want to be done and get the lid down as soon as possible (which will essentially create an oven and melt the cheese before the bottom burns). Fear not, it is not as hard as it sounds. Once you’ve accomplished this piling of toppings, turn the heat down a bit and let it roast in there. I had the second side down for about 10 minutes before I pulled it. The cheese melted nicely and the ingredients were thoroughly warm. This dough recipe really “holds its own,” as the crust held up perfectly. The taste of the grill on this pizza/flatbread was a perfect match to what otherwise would be accomplished with grilled rye. Remember to let it cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting, as it will let the ingredients settle, and it is a pain to cut hot pizza because everything slides around. The longer you let it set the better the combination of ingredients will get, but the flatbread is truly optimal hot-off–the-grill. You decide the happy medium, and enjoy this grilled delight.


billy said...

Holy F'in S. That looks like the best thing ever. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever be making it. Just being honest with myself.

Philly Phoodie said...

Thanks Billy! I honestly think it would be just as good if not better with some caramelized onions, grilled pears and blue cheese/gorgonzola. Given your site I am assuming you might be more into a fresh mozzarella, tomato basil or something like that. Definitely could put ANY healthy ingredients you want on it. The grilled flavor really brings out the taste!