Grilled pizza’s subtle flavors produce a bold statement

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Summer grilling season is a great excuse to give the pizza delivery guy a break. Grilling infuses pizza with a wonderful smoky flavor and a crisp, chewy crust.

You need to know a few basics, however. First, the toppings need to be precooked because the pizza won’t be on the grill long enough to cook them there. Second, it’s important to start with clean, well-oiled grates. The dough will stick to any charred bits of food left on the grates.

Finally, start by grilling the dough plain until the bottom is lightly browned. Then oil the top, flip it over, add your sauce and other toppings, and then finish cooking.

We’ve opted for a slightly unusual combination of sausage and sweet potato for toppings. Classic sliced tomatoes and mozzarella (with fresh basil thrown on after it comes off the grill) or sauteed peppers, onions and zucchini topped with pepper jack cheese also would be great summery options.

GRILLED SWEET POTATO AND SAUSAGE PIZZA

1 medium sweet potato

2 sweet or spicy Italian chicken sausages, each cut diagonally into 8 slices

20-ounce ball of pizza dough

2 tablespoons olive oil

16-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, sliced

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Peel the sweet potato and slice it into 1/8-inch slices. Drop the slices into the boiling water and boil until just tender, but not falling apart, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes, then set aside.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Grill the sausage slices until charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside.

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