Yesterday, I was planning on making pho for dinner. I was driving home from work and thinking about how it was a gorgeous afternoon, perfect for the first dinner al fresco on the patio of the year. But I didn’t want to make hot bowls of soup to eat outside on the patio.
No, yesterday afternoon was screaming “Grill something!” I had to go to the grocery store anyway to grab some cilantro (for the pho I probably wouldn’t make) and I was thinking about what I would like to grill. I had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge I was planning to make pizza with, so why not make it a grilled pizza?
A few years back, I took some friends who were visiting from out of town for a wedding out for drinks and dinner. We went to a restaurant/bar here in town that was sadly short-lived. That evening the gas was out in their kitchen, so they were grilling everything. I ordered a white pizza, and it was the most heavenly thing ever. The grill made the crust crunchy on the bottom with some slight char marks that only added to the flavors of the roasted garlic cloves and ricotta cheese on top. I went back after that and tried to order a grilled pizza, but they wouldn’t do it. It was a one-time thing. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of pizza on the grill–without much success at home.
Given my recent “hit and miss” record with pizza crust, I should have not tried to get fancy with this crust. But I decided to cut the recipe in half because it always makes enough for small pizzas, and one is enough for 2 people. And I decided to substitute 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat flour. I thought it would make it more “rustic” and healthier. I had to add a little bit of water because the dough seemed too dry. Then it was too wet. And it tore easily when I tried to put it on my grill pan. And oozed through the holes on the bottom. It was a mess. I probably need a special pan to make pizzas on the grill. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
It wasn’t pretty. It stuck to the bottom of the pan (even though I greased it) probably because of the high heat, holes in the pan and weird texture of the dough. But it was oh-so-tasty! I picked up a package of prosciutto at the grocery store, to combine with my fresh mozzarella and some pesto I had frozen. Simple and perfect flavors that complement each other perfectly. The prosciutto got a little crispy on the grill and its saltiness paired perfectly with the creamy melted mozzarella and garlicky pesto. We ate every bite even though we had to use forks.
I had some mozzarella and prosciutto leftover from the pizza, so I made a quick side salad. I tore the prosciutto up into small pieces, added the bocconcini-sized mozzarella, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze and a couple spoonfuls of giardiniera that I canned a couple years ago. It would have been fantastic had I left it to marinate a few hours so the flavors could soak in, but I threw it together in less than 10 minutes. It was still tasty.
It was a perfect dinner al fresco on the patio. Delicious food, wine and perfect weather. I hope it’s the start of many good meals with good company on the patio this summer.