You may think the only way to eat a gourmet pizza with a crispy, smoky crust is to order it at a restaurant, but you can achieve the same flavor and texture in your pizzas by cooking them on the grill.
Chef Craig Priebe explains how in his visit to ABC7 Chicago and in his book, “Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas.” For more information, visit www.craigpriebe.com.
Recipes from Chef Craig Priebe:
The Gamberian (sauteed shrimp with pesto and tomato)
1 grilled pizza crust ½ cup Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce (pg. 28) 2 tablespoons Herbed Grill Oil (page 28) ½ cup Basil Pecan Pesto (pg. 30) or extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes (see 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan Note) ½ pound (225g) jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined ½ cup thinly sliced red onions Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons capers 1 cup shredded mozzarella 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Garnish: 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Note: Buy sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil if possible, because they are easier to cut.
1. Brush the grilled side of the pizza crust with 1 tablespoon of the Herbed Grill Oil. Dust with the Parmesan.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the shrimp until opaque and pink, about 1 ½ minutes. Don’t worry if they seem undercooked; they will cook more when you grill the pizza. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
3. Top the pizza crust with the mozzarella. Spoon the Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce and the Basil Pecan Pesto on top, creating an alternating pattern of red and green. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, shrimp, red onions, capers, and garlic.
4. Grill the pizza according to Chapter 4. Garnish with the fresh basil and cracked black pepper before serving.
The S’more Graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow
Ingredients: ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips ½ cup sweetened condensed milk 9 full graham crackers (1 package) 1 grilled pizza crust 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter One 7-ounce (200g) jar prepared marshmallow cream
Makes one 12 inch (30cm) pizza
1. Put the chocolate chips in a small microwaveable bowl. Heat for 30 seconds to melt the chips, then stir. If they are not melted completely, repeat for 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate chips melt into a thick sauce. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk until the chocolate thickens.
2. Place 7 of the graham crackers in a thick plastic bag with a sealable top. Crush the crackers with a rolling pin until they become fine crumbs.
3. Brush the grilled side of the pizza crust with the melted butter. Pour the graham cracker crumbs over the buttered crust, smoothing them evenly over the crust with your hand. Add small dollops of the chocolate fudge without spreading. Do the same with the marshmallow cream. The pizza should look checkered, with alternating dollops of chocolate and cream. Break the two remaining graham crackers into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) pieces and scatter them across the pizza.
4. Grill the pizza according to Chapter 4. Before serving, broil it in the oven for up to two minutes, to brown the marshmallow. Watch it closely to avoid burning.
Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce
This vibrant, fresh sauce is so much better than anything from a jar. The tomatoes are roughly chopped, rather than puréed, so the sauce sits on top of the pizza rather than underneath the toppings. This way you don’t get the same taste in every bite. Tomato paste deepens the sauce’s flavor, as does refrigerating the sauce for at least an hour. If your tomatoes are juicy, use more tomato paste to thicken the sauce. This sauce keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Ingredients: 2 small cloves garlic 8 large fresh basil leaves 1 ½ pounds (about 3 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (see Note) 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or more) 1 teaspoon kosher salt ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon sugar
Note: If tomatoes are not in season, use good canned tomatoes instead. They will have more flavor than the gas-ripened ones at the supermarket. Use two 14 ½-ounce (440 g) cans of diced tomatoes, drained.
Makes about 2 cups, depending on ripeness and juiciness
1. Place the garlic and basil leaves in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and pulse briefly. Do not purée the tomatoes, as the sauce is meant to be chunky. Or chop all by hand
2. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and sugar until mixed well. If the sauce looks watery, add more tomato paste until you see no more juice.
3. Refrigerate the sauce for an hour to accentuate the flavors.
Herbed Grill Oil
I use this oil as a base for almost all of my savory pizzas and many of the piadinas. It takes just a second to make and keeps in the refrigerator indefinitely. If I’m feeling lazy, sometimes I add a little more olive oil instead of making a new batch. Make sure the olive oil is top quality.
Ingredients: ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 small clove garlic, minced ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon dried basil
Makes: ½ cup
1. Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl or glass jar, mix well, and refrigerate. If it solidifies, take it out a few minutes early or microwave it at 5-second intervals until it starts to liquefy.
Uses for Leftover Herbed Grill Oil:
As a marinade for meats, poultry, seafood, or vegetables.
Sauté vegetables, shrimp, chicken, or tofu in it.
Mix it with a little vinegar, salt, and pepper for a salad dressing.
Stir it into hot pasta and add cheese.
Brush it on grilled bread or toast to make bruschetta.
Toss it with potatoes, then season it with salt and pepper and roast.