Mediterranean pizza from the grill
There will be two of us for our pizza party tonight. Happily, we each love the clean and fragrant flavors of the Mediterranean. So, for us, what we’ll put on our grill-fired pizzas is easy. Tonight, Greeks and Italians join hands and toss a mess of really good things on our pies!
- grilled chicken, marinated Mediterranean-style (now this will not be the star of the show, because really, a wonderful pizza doesn’t need meat! – my prejudice coming out! That being said, it IS really tasty.)
- roasted red peppers
- roasted garlic
- drizzles of basil-thick pesto
- toasted pine nuts
- crumbled feta cheese
- fresh herbs (mostly Greek oregano)
Simple, no? Absolutely!! So here’s how:
(These preparations can all be done day-of, or day before. It’ll take you maybe forty-five minutes total prep time, depending on whether you’re working alone or with a buddy, and how many children or dogs you have chasing tails underfoot.)
Chicken – At least two hours before dinner, prepare the marinade for the chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 6 Tbl. olive oil
- 4 Tbl. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 3 whole garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
- 1 tsp. dried Oregano, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. lavender flowers (COMPLETELY optional! but fun)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl and put the chicken in to marinate for a couple of hours (if you have the time.) Turn occasionally.
The dough – You’ve already got your pizza dough from yesterday, right? About two hours before dinner, remove the dough from the refrigerator, deflate it, and cut it into four pieces. Form each piece into a ball, cover with plastic. Allow them to come up to room temperature. Deflate again (because they will have been slowly rising on the counter) and form into four discs, 3 to 4 inches across. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Just before piling with sauce and goodies (see below), roll it out (1/4 to 1/3 inch approximately.)
NOTE: When it comes time, you’ll be taking it out to the grill to bake on one side, then bringing it back to the preparation table to top with the good stuff – and returning to the grill to finish cooking.
Cheese -grate or thinly slice the mozzarella. Crumble the feta – reserve the feta for when the pizza comes off the grill. Refrigerate both.
Roasted garlic – you can see how to roast garlic in my recipe on white bean purée dated May 9, 2011. (You can do this the same time you roast the red peppers. Temperatures vary, but you can compromise.)
Roasted red pepper – Either buy them in a jar, or — Cut a red pepper in half from top to bottom, removing the seeds. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet (or in the toaster oven, along with your garlic). Roast until the skin blisters and bubbles and begins to blacken. (This would take about 35 minutes in a 450° oven.) Remove from the oven with tongs and drop into a brown paper bag. Close the bag up and allow the peppers to steam in there for maybe ten minutes or so. The skin will peel right off. Slice the roasted peppers into long thin strips.
Pine nuts – In the same oven or toaster oven, set temperature to 300° or so. Roast your pine nuts, tossing a time or two, and watching carefully because they will go from just right to burnt in a flash.