Johnny and I started grilling pizza years ago, and every summer we try to come up with new combinations of ingredients. A few seasons ago it was white clam with bacon. Last summer, it was vodka sauce with peas and fresh mozzarella. Before that, fig, goat cheese and walnut pesto. And then there are our old standbys: fresh tomato, basil and mozz; kalamata olives, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, red onion and feta; and pesto with mozzarella and roasted red peppers. If you’ve been to our house for a meal in the summer, chances are we’ve grilled you a pizza.
When we lived in the city, we often ordered pizza from a place down the block called Veloce. It’s not there anymore, which is a shame, because they had the most amazing mushroom pizza we’ve ever tasted. No gummy button mushrooms and congealed mozz here. This baby was topped with a mix of more exotic mushrooms, like hen of the woods, parsley, garlic and a blend of cheeses. It was fantastic. We still talk about this pizza. Which is why we wanted to recreate it ourselves. A trip to Whole Foods yielded a decent blend of mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, shitaki, cremini) and I picked up fontina, fresh mozzarella, garlic and parsley. We were ready to begin.
I should tell you that our pizza making skills have improved vastly over the years. Our early attempts looked more like the United States then a round or square pizza. Friends are always interested in our pizza grilling technique so I took pictures of each step:
I don’t make my own dough. I could, but I really like the multigrain dough from Terranova Bakery. I get it at Whole Foods. It also comes in white and whole wheat. I buy it by the dozen and freeze it. I take it out in the morning, put it in a greased bowl, cover it with a dish towel and let it thaw and rise all afternoon.
Once the dough is ready to roll out, I place it on a floured mat and roll it out as thin as possible. Try to get it as round as possible too.
Next, I brush a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and then gently place the dough on it, pressing the dough into the pan, which also helps it take shape.
At this point, Johnny takes over. I help him carry the dough onto the grill grates, oil side down. He straightens it out with tongs, brushes the top side with more olive oil and closes the grill. We use all burners on medium high. After a minute or two, check to see that the bottom has grill marks, then flip it. Add your toppings, turn the heat down to low and close the grill.
Once the cheese has melted and the bottom is browned to your liking, place a large cutting board close to the front edge of your grill and quickly slide the pizza onto it. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting, to let the cheese and toppings settle.
Grilled Pizza with Mushroom and Fontina
1 ball of multigrain dough (prepped according to the aforementioned directions)
1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, grated
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster, cremini, shitaki, etc.), stemmed and chopped
Prep your dough. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive until just softened. Set aside. Grate and slice the cheeses, and dice up the parsley and garlic. Once the dough is ready to be topped, place the sliced mozzarella evenly across the pizza and then add the fontina. Cover the pizza with the chopped mushrooms, garlic and parsley. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned to your liken. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.