As part of the start of the barbecue season, let me introduce you…
I love it for so many reasons, but the main one among them is that there is no need to bake the oven at 475 ° F on a hot summer day. Grilled pizza is an excellent vegetarian cooking option, and, most importantly, this is Exhibition A for the world’s greatest culinary contrast: charred next to creamy. (Consider grilled salmon yogurt sauce or grilled romaine spread with Caesar.) On this pie, a sweet, milky burrata cuts smoked grilled kale and it’s a miracle.
Still, it’s the pizza grill thing. Until you understand, the technique can be a little awkward. The dough cooks super fast and can sometimes behave erratically, which means that if you want to prepare it for guests, you may want to make a dry run first. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- For starters: Oil everything. If the bark sticks to the grate, it will be hard to recover! I avoid this by brushing the oil on the racks, on a baking sheet where the dough rests between the flaps and on both sides of the dough. Yet it is a balance. You want the dough to be coated. If it drips oil, it will cause it to appear.
- If you use a charcoal grill, let the charcoal die before placing the crust on the grill. The coal should be gray to the end, and the flame should not rise. If you use a gas grill, prepare it for a medium heat.
- Don’t roll out the dough too thin or the pizza too big – even if it’s a little too big in the photo, the diameter shouldn’t be more than about 12 inches. Otherwise, the dough will be bulky, cook too quickly, and are more likely to burn and tear as you move it from the racks to the baking sheet.
- Use a baking sheet between cooking each side of the dough. Cooking each side only takes about two minutes, and you don’t want to rush with adding toppings.
- And finally, if possible, it helps to have an extra set of hands to roll over and guide the dough. Until you figure it out, at least.
Grilled pizza with charred kale and burrata
Prepare 1 pizza, serve 4
Step 1: Prepare the grill
Clean the grilles. If you use a charcoal grill, spread the hot charcoal evenly over the bottom of the grill and let it burn until the temperature is relatively low for about 30 minutes. When you add the dough to the grills, there should be no flame bursting out of the coals. This is very important. You don’t want the grill to be furiously hot. If you use a gas grill, prepare it for a medium heat.
Step 2: Make kale
6-8 ounce Tuscan kale (1 medium bunch)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 tbsp
If you have barbecue basket: Remove the kale from the coarse stalks and chop into 3-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss the kale with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. (You want the kale to be coated with oil, not dripping.) Add to the grill basket and toss over a moderate heat until the kale is wilted and smoky and slightly charred in places. Return the grilled kale back to the pan and pour over the lemon juice. Set aside.
If you do not have a barbecue basket: In a large bowl, toss whole cabbage leaves with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the leaves on the grill (perpendicular to the grill) and cook for about 3 minutes, turning regularly with tongs to smoke and char, but not to burn completely. Remove from the grill when lightly charred and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough, remove the stems as much as possible, chop them, add to a large bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Set aside.
Step 3: Make a pizza
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pizza dough purchased at a store with a 16-ounce ball, stretched to a diameter of about 12 inches (not too thin! See note above.)
3/4 cup chopped part of mozzarella defense
1 bunch grilled kale (see below)
1 ball of burrate of 4 ounces
scaly sea salt
optional toppings: chili oil, red pepper flakes, pickled onion (recipe at the bottom this post)
Lightly grease the middle of the baking sheet with a teaspoon or so little olive oil and place the pizza dough on top. Coat the top of the dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the brushed side down on the grill very carefully, as flat as possible, using a second set of hands if you need them. (You can use a spatula to lift each corner while the crust is cooking to make sure it doesn’t stick.) When the bottom looks golden but not burnt, no longer than 2 minutes, turn the dough over on a greased biscuit tin, on the grill up. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the entire surface of the dough, then the kale and push it back onto the hot racks. Cover and grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust looks golden but not burnt, for another 2 minutes. Carefully remove from the grill. When ready to serve, spread your fingers apart and spread the burrata evenly over the top. If using, add scaly sea salt, red pepper flakes and pickled onions.
If you don’t eat it right away, wait until just before serving to break the burrata over the kale. (To keep the bark from getting wet.)