It’s time to try grilling your pizza

A new cookbook by local authors Judith Fertig and Karen Adler offers recipes for making artisan pizza and flatbreads on the grill.

07/07/2014 11:56 AM

07/08/2014 6:51 PM

Judith Fertig uses a cornmeal-dusted metal peel to slide a round of pizza dough into the thin slot of a small, propane-powered pizza oven that reaches a toasty 750 degrees. The Overland Park cookbook author watches the crust begin to puff and in a few minutes removes a pie with bubbly, crisped edges featuring her favorite topping: ham, turnips and greens.

If turnips sound a bit odd as a pizza topping, consider that she stumbled on this combination one day in January as she was testing basic dough recipes for “Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza & Flatbreads on the Grill” (Running Press, $20) at co-author Karen Adler’s Kansas City home. Because getting the dough right was the focus, they agreed to skip a trip to the supermarket and instead began rummaging for toppings in the vegetable crisper.

Adler’s husband, a duck hunter, had come home with bushels of turnips planted in a nearby field in November, and while in storage the root vegetable had sprouted greens. “Judith saw those greens and said, ‘These are going on the pizza,’” Adler recalls. “So we sliced turnips very thin and grilled the pizza — and then we fought over the turnips.”

For a recent photo shoot, turnip greens were unavailable, so they substituted kale. You could also use mustard or collard greens. “I think of recipes as blueprints,” Fertig says.

No matter what topping you choose, there’s no denying pizza has become a popular American staple. Where once Chef Boyardee got the nod, we’ve graduated to thin and chewy Neapolitan-style crusts topped with gourmet ingredients. But trying to replicate the results of a favorite pizzeria at home can lead to flat results.

“Pizza ovens generally operate on a higher heat than we can achieve in an indoor oven — temperatures from at least 450 to 900 degrees,” they write in the book’s introduction. “But what your indoor oven can’t do, your outdoor grill can.”

In recent years, backyard gourmets with extra dough began installing pricey wood-fired-style pizza ovens, like the dazzling Kalamazoo Artisan Fire Pizza Oven, which retails for $6,795. But you can just as easily turn out pizzas using a generic $20 pizza stone set on a standard Weber Kettle Grill.

Smoke ’N Fire, a fireplace and grilling emporium in Overland Park, offers everything from basic to high-end. For The Star’s photo shoot, Fertig used Pizzeria Pronto, an outdoor propane-powered pizza oven that costs $299. Another option is the popular Emile Henry pizza stone for $50 that conducts heat and yet is attractive enough it can double as a serving platter.

Joan Cattey, who owns the store with her husband, is not a pizza fan — “too greasy.” But she has been amazed at how much she enjoys the non-pepperoni recipes in “Patio Pizzeria.” “Their recipes are so good, it doesn’t even taste like pizza,” she says. “I wish there was another name for what they do. I think they’re on the cutting edge.”

When it comes to making dough, Fertig is a fan of “doppio zero,” “Double Zero” or “00” flour, a finely milled specialty flour with a lower protein content. It makes for a softer dough that can roll out thin enough to fit into a pizza oven slot. The flour is available at Italian markets such as Bella Napoli in Brookside.

But if you don’t want to buy a specialty flour, Fertig offers a tip: “I discovered you can do the same thing by mixing half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.”

Fertig decoded the conversion too late for book publication. “It just goes to show the book may be done, but you’re not done with the book,” she says.

With numerous barbecue and grill books under their belts — including their popular 2012 “The Gardener & the Grill” — the cookbook duo known as the BBQ Queens expanded pizza on the grill to encompass a typical pizzeria menu. The result is 100 recipes and techniques for pizza, flatbreads, panini and panuozzo, a sandwich made from pizza dough that is sliced lengthwise, layered with fillings and popped back in the oven.

Although Adler says she hasn’t found panuozzo in Kansas City, she did run into piadine, an unleavened Italian flatbread similar to a tortilla, at the new Pezzetino Deli and Market in the Crossroads Arts District. But if you want to make your own, try Rise and Shine Piadine With Herb Scrambled Eggs and Italian Sausage, a recipe inspired by Adler’s family Memorial Day celebrations.

The cookbook also includes recipes for Italian breads of all descriptions: Raspberry Bruschetta With Lavender Honey Ricotta, Grilled Algerian Spice-Swirled Flatbread, Gorgonzola Dolce Pizza With Fingerlings and Radicchio, Thai Shrimp Pizzettes With Coconut and Chiles, and Dessert Panini With Mascarpone and Sour Cherries.

Round out the meal with recipes for several side salads, including the quintessential Italian staple, panzanella, a tasty way to use up leftover bread.

Adler is especially fond of their breadstick recipe. “I haven’t seen that in a cookbook before,” she says.

Know your Italian bread

OK, we all know a pizza when we see one. But do you recognize these other flatbreads that star in “Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza & Flatbreads on the Grill” (Running Press, $20)?

Bruschetta: Tiny garlic toasts topped with a variety of delectable ingredients.

Calzones: Half moon-shaped mini-pizza turnovers with crimped edges.

Ciabatta: A long, wide “slipper” bread loaf with a soft interior and a crisp, thin crust.

Focaccia: A bread that is flattened and typically garnished with grapes at harvest time.

Panini: A sandwich in which ingredients are layered between two pieces of bread and usually pressed in a special griddle.

Panuozzo: A sandwich made of pizza dough sliced lengthwise and layered with ingredients, then rewarmed in the oven.

Panzerotti: This smaller version of a calzone is made with softer dough.

Piadine: An unleavened flatbread similar to a tortilla or wrap.

Pizzettes: The original mini pizza.

Meet the authors

Pryde’s Old Westport, 115 Westport Road, tasting and book signing, noon to 2 p.m. Saturday Free. 816-531-5588

Jasper’s Restaurant, 1201 W. 103rd. St., pizza party cookbook dinner, includes an autographed copy of the book. 7 p.m. July 14, $45 (tax and gratuity extra). Call for reservations, 816-941-6600

A Thyme for Everything, 229 S.E. Main St., Lee’s Summit, cooking demo and book signing, 1 to 3 p.m. July 19. Free. 816-554-3755

Story, 3931 W. 69th Terrace, Prairie Village, cooking class and three-course luncheon, noon July 26. $40 (tax and gratuity extra), includes an autographed copy of the book. Call for reservations, 913-236-9955

Classic Pizza Dough

Makes 4 (6-inch) individual pizzas

2 1/2 cup bread flour, plus more for dusting and kneading

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast

1 cup lukewarm water, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and yeast together. Combine the water, honey and olive oil and stir into flour mixture until the dough comes together. If the dough is dry, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until dough is just moist. Transfer the dough to a floured surface.

With the heel of your hand or your knuckles (or both), knead the dough, adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking, until it is smooth but not sticky and springs back like a pillow when you make an indentation in the dough with your knuckle, about 4 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 days before baking. Let come to room temperature before using.

Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough variation: In a small skillet over medium heat on the stovetop, saute 2 tablespoons minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Stir in 2 teaspoons of dried Italian herb seasoning. Let cool, then add the garlic mixture to the dough with the water, honey and olive oil. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Brick Oven-Style Dough variation: The lower-protein “00” flour (available online and at Italian markets) lets you roll or hand toss this dough very thin. Simply substitute “00” flour for the bread flour and continue with the recipe.

Per pizza: 350 calories (13 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 64 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 669 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Grilled Garlic and Herb Breadsticks With Garlic Herb Butter

Makes 4 servings, 2 breadsticks each

Butter:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, flat-leaf parsley and dill

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Breadsticks:

1 recipe Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.

For the butter: Combine the butter, herbs, garlic and salt in a bowl and blend well with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap.

For breadsticks: Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll into a 16-by-6-inch rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2-by-6-inch pieces. Brush the top and bottom side of each piece with olive oil. Place each piece perpendicular to the grill grate so they don’t fall through or grill on oiled, perforated grill rack. Grill over direct medium-high heat until you see the dough starting to bubble like a pancake, 2 to 3 minutes, and the bottoms have good grill marks. Turn and grill for 1 more minute, or until the other side has good grill marks. Serve hot with the Garlic-Herb Butter.

Breadsticks, per serving: 447 calories (30 percent from fat), 15 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 66 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 670 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Garlic Herb Butter, per tablespoon: 103 calories (98 percent from fat), 12 grams total fat (7 grams saturated), 31 milligrams cholesterol, trace carbohydrates, trace protein, 68 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Ham, Turnips and Greens Pizza

Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas

4 medium-size turnips, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups finely chopped turnip greens or stemmed and finely chopped mustard, kale or collard greens

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 recipe Brick Oven-Style Dough

All-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal, for sprinkling

1 cup finely chopped smoked ham

1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat the grill and the pizza oven insert on high heat until the temperature reaches 650 to 700 degrees.

In a bowl, gently toss the turnip slices and greens with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Divide the dough into 2 portions. Hand toss or, on a floured surface, pat or roll each portion into a 12-inch-diameter circle.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or a flexible cutting board with half the cornmeal. Arrange a pizza circle on the cornmeal-dusted peel. Brush with olive oil. Spread with half the vegetables and ham, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Then sprinkle with half the cheese.

Hold the pizza peel level with the grill rack so that the pizza will slide onto the center of the hot pizza stone. With a quick forward jerk of your arm, slide the pizza from the peel to the stone. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Slide the peel under the pizza and remove it from the pizza oven. Repeat the process with other pizza.

Per slice: 143 calories (22 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 413 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Classic Caprese

Makes 2 to 3 servings

1 recipe Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough

All-purpose flour for rolling and dusting

1/4 cup cornmeal for sprinkling

Olive oil for brushing

12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices beefsteak tomato

12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices buffalo mozzarella

Kosher or sea salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper

12 fresh basil leaves, torn

Prepare medium-hot fire in your grill with a pizza stone on the grill grates over direct heat.

Divide the dough into 2 portions. On a floured surface, pat or roll each portion into a 12-inch-diameter circle.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or a flexible cutting board with half of the cornmeal. Arrange a pizza circle on the cornmeal-dusted peel.

Hold the pizza level with the grill rack so that the dough round will slide onto the center of the hot pizza stone. With a quick forward jerk of your arm, slide the dough round from the peel to the stone. Close the lid and grill-bake for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the crust is browned on the bottom and firm. Turn the pizza crust with tongs and brush quickly with olive oil. Alternate half of the tomato and mozzarella slices in concentric circles, with 4 slices each of the tomatoes and mozzarella toward the edge of the pizza and 2 slices of each in the center. Cover and grill 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese has softened and begun to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter half the torn basil leaves on top of the pizza and serve. Repeat the process with the other pizza.

Per serving, based on 2: 927 calories (23 percent from fat), 24 grams total fat (7 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 146 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 1,520 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Simple Gluten-Free Grilled Flatbread With Fresh Herbs and Romano

Makes 4 servings

2 l/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose bread flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast

1 cup lukewarm water, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling and brushing

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 cup snipped mixed fresh herbs, such as chives, flat-leaf parsley, oregano and basil

In a large bowl, stir the flour, xanthan gum, herb blend, salt and yeast together. Combine the water, honey and olive oil and stir into the flour mixture until the dough comes together. If the dough is dry, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until the dough is just moist. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days before baking. Let come to room temperature before using.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.

Oil a work surface and your hands and divide the dough into quarters. Roll or pat each portion of dough into an oval 8 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.

Brush the top and bottom side of each dough oval with olive oil. Grill over direct medium-high heat until you see dough starting to bubble like a pancake, 2 to 3 minutes, and the bottoms have good grill marks. Turn and grill for 1 more minute, or until the other side has good grill marks. Sprinkle with the cheese, top with fresh herbs. Serve hot.

Per serving: 497 calories (22 percent from fat), 12 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 84 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 838 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Panzanella

Makes 6 servings

1/2 loaf stale rustic artisan bread

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup chopped basil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cube the stale bread and place in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, basil, vinegar and olive oil and toss to coat well. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add more olive oil, if needed. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so the bread soaks up all the good juices and softens somewhat. Serve.

Per serving: 284 calories (61 percent from fat), 20 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 24 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 226 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

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