I‘ll be completely honest and tell you that I don’t even bother with meat on my summer pizza. Forget the pepperoni, ham, and yes, even bacon, during June, July & August, pizza is ALL about the glorious vegetables.
And why would you want anything else? Silky, smokey grilled peppers and zucchini, firm young garlic, and sweet cherry tomatoes leave little to be desired for toppings. Winter pizza is another matter completely; for now, the vegetables deserve to shine.
Herbs also play a role in summer pizza toppings, as so Kalamata olives for some balance, and the whole pie is bound together by whatever cheese is hanging out in the crisper.
Two steps elevate a simple summer pizza from ho-hum to heavenly: the first is to grill the aforementioned sweet peppers before adding them to the pizza, and the second is to cook the crust directly on the grill.
In this post, we’ll look at how to do both.
How to Roast or Grill Sweet Bell Peppers
It’s not so much the roasting of the sweet bell peppers that is tricky, but peeling them can be tedious – unless you use a snappy little trick I learned in culinary school which I’ll share below. You can either grill your peppers, or roast them in the oven, both will cook the bell peppers nicely and bring out their sweetness.
- Wash peppers and cut in half from top to bottom. Use your hand or a small pairing knife to remove the seeds.
- Oil peppers lightly with olive oil and place, cut side down on a roasting pan or preheated gas grill.
- Roast or grill sweet peppers until the begin to char, about 15 minutes, depending on the grill. Grilled peppers should be flipped so the skin side can blacken, but roasted peppers will char on their own.
- Remove peppers from heat source and place in kitchen bowl. Cover top tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 10-15 minutes. As the peppers cool and sweat, their skins will loosen.
- Using your hands, slip skins off of the peppers and discard. Rinse peppers quickly under cool running water to remove any clinging skin or seeds. Roasted peppers are now ready to be used.
A wood-burning pizza oven is one of our long term goals for our little urban homestead, but until that happens, grilling pizza is about as close are we are going to get to the coveted smokey flavor and slightly charred bottom of a wood-fired pie.
Tossing a round of pizza dough on the grill isn’t complicated, but does require close attention for best results. I recommend you bring your iced tea along and camp out close to the barbecue for this one.
- Have all ingredients prepped ahead of time and standing by the grill on a tray or cookie sheet.
- Grill some toppings ahead of time, such as zucchini, peppers and onions, to to add flavor and to also cut down on cooking time.
- Don’t go too heavy on the toppings, or the crust will be cooked before the rest of the ingredients are warmed and the cheese melted.
- High heat will produce lovely markings, but finish pizza on the top rack with the lid down to help the cheese melt.
|Grilled Summer Vegetable Pizza|| |
- Prepare dough and set to rise. Prep toppings and have them ready to go.
- Preheat grill to about 400, clean well with a brush, and oil lightly with a long handled brush.
- Divide pizza into 6 portions and roll then into rounds. Dust them well with flour, and layer them on a baking sheet.
- Place the a round of dough, floured side down, above the oiled grill and cook until the top of dough bubbles and bottom is grill-marked, about 1-2 minutes. With a long-handled spatula, flatten the bubbles. Brush the top with olive oil and flip the pizza crust over, then transfer it to the top rack on the grill.
- Quickly spread tomato sauce onto grilled dough, top with cheese, herbs, roasted bell peppers, and zucchini. Close lid and let dough brown and cheese melt until bubbling and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove pizza and repeat remaining rounds of dough. Serve at once.
What do you like to top your summer pizza with?