What To Eat For New Year's Eve: Grilled Pizza

My best internet search of 2016? How To Make Grilled Pizza. My life changed when I googled that. I mean, wow. But first, let me say, Happy New Year to all of you: my followers and friends! I am so grateful for you - those who read, those who read and comment, those who share things, those who just drop an email and tell me I'm not the only person who thinks a good mac & cheese is borderline spiritual territory. So first I am going to be a mother and insist that you'd do much better to stay home tonight and ring in the new year safely (or stay with your party hosts) rather than become prey to the careening drunks (or become a careening drunk yourself). Now that I'm done warning you against opening 2017 with a massive hangover, let's eat.

Pizza is an anytime-thing in my opinion. And it's an any-topping thing. Except maybe pineapple. I don't know why I can't stand pineapple on pizza, considering how much I love pineapple. Either way, I was thinking over NYE plans and how...I don't know...how blase appetizers are. Don't get me wrong - I like appetizers but sometimes I sit there wondering how many I've eaten and why I ate them and how those-meatballs-weren't-even-delicious and then I just think, "I should have eaten pizza." So guys, this post is all about pizza. Grilled pizza! And if you haven't met grilled pizza at this stage in your life, hurry on with the introduction. It's life-changing. Do you have a grill? You have the ability to make pizza so beautiful and delicious it is A) automatically a great background for your iPhone and B) as good if not better than all those "wood-fired" pizzas we consistently crave. I love running my pizza antics in an organized, local-inspired fashion. What's in season? Can we put it on a pizza? So the pizza starring in this post is very winter-inspired. And low-key inspired by anise biscotti my grandmother used to make every Christmas. I started with fennel because, by golly, I wanted to finally know how to use that frondy thingamajig that looks suspiciously like a cross between dill weed and a bunch of celery. So yes, I googled how to prepare fennel and whether you might be able to shave it thin on a pizza and guess what? Yep. Then my eyes jumped to a sign advertising blood oranges and then this sort of madness carried me over to goat cheese and some smoked salmon and that's how this delightfully fresh winter pizza happened. Let's revist the logic here, okay?

- citrus and anise-flavors combine well in biscotti
- citrus and goat cheese is a win
- goat cheese and smoked salmon is basically cream cheese and lox
- salmon and citrus is a glad combination
- citrus and fennel and goat cheese and salmon would, therefore, a good pizza make

Or something like that. It's not impenetrable logic, but it worked out for me so I think my goodwill carried the day. The flavor combination is surprisingly gentle-yet-unusual. And gosh, the char on the pizza from the grill. So basically what you do is make a pizza dough, crinkle it out into whatever botched shape it ends up, grill one side, flip the pizza onto a tray, top it, and return it to the grill to grill the other side and melt the ingredients on top. Don't worry - the pizza dough doesn't slip through the cracks when your grill is hot enough! I'll run back through all this in the directions, but here: take a gawk.

First off, let it be known that I learned how to make grilled pizza from the instructions at SimplyRecipes. I mean, not the chicest site in internet town but darned good for actually figuring out what you're doing and admitting you don't know how yet. From them I learned how non-scary grilled pizza making is and so, though I will sketch out what to do, you'd just as well go read their post first. Now that you're back, let's begin!

Grilled Salmon, Blood Orange, And Fennel Pizza 

Pizza Dough - makes enough for two 10" pizzas
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
cornmeal for dusting

Pizza toppings - whatever you want but I used:
- 2 blood oranges, supremed
- shaved fennel bulb
- fennel fronds
- 1/2 of large package of smoked salmon
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 Tablespoons olive oil

  1. For dough: dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar or honey. While it proofs, mix salt and flour in large mixing bowl. Add water + yeast and olive oil, then mix until smooth. Knead for a couple minutes, then allow to rest, covered, in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).
  2. When pizza dough is ready, light your grill to high heat. Heat until the grill is nice and hot and you can't hold your palm above the grate for more than two seconds. With a pair of tongs, dip a paper towel in olive oil and grease the grate lightly.
  3. Pat out two pizzas from your dough and allow them to rest on a cornmeal-dusted tray. Transfer to grill and grill for 5-10 minutes, until bottom is nice and golden/charred.
  4. Flip pizzas "raw" side down on cornmeal dusted trays and top. I brushed mine with olive oil instead of pizza sauce and topped it with cheese, herbs, salmon, and blood oranges.
  5. With a large spatula transfer back on grill and close lid. Grill for 7-10 minutes, until toppings are melted/tender/etc.
  6. Serve immediately from grill for deepest yum factor.

Again, Happy New Year! See you in 2017 and let me know what manner of deliciousness you threw on your pizzas! This is such a fun "project" to collaborate on with a group of friends - you could even make it into a competition and good news: the dish burden is so minimal. Have fun, eat well, and be safe.

1 comment

  1. The only pizza I usually crave is homemade pizza. I'm not a often a fan of American "Italian (there should be a word for that like we have TexMex).

    Dad makes homemade doughnuts (Alton Brown's recipe) and smokes pork, and we have started celebrating on New Year's Day not Eve so people can avoid the drunks driving the wrong way on the highway.