Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fire up the grill. It's time for ... pizza?

We arrived at our apartment after midnight. I fired up our little Smokey Joe grill and rolled out the dough. Once the coals were ready, I tossed the dough onto the grate. The fire came up immediately and singed the hair off my arm. After I finished my little dance, found out that the fire was too hot and I used too much oil, a volatile combination.

But Karla was going to have her grilled pizza. When I tried again, I tossed the dough onto the grill and watched a network of bubbles rise on the surface. We tapped our first grilled pizza and set it under the broiler to crisp. We knew we had found our ticket, even before we tasted it.
Many of us are used to the idea of grilling pizza to emulate the effects that restaurants achieve with wood-burning ovens. However, how many of us have really ever tried it? It sounds like a good idea but when we're getting right down to it, the idea of tackling grilling pizza is kind of intimidating.

That's why it's a good thing that pizza grilling pioneer Craig Priebe has written this book. He demystifies the whole process by sharing the knowledge gleaned in his years of expertise as a grilled pizza restauranteur. There are step-by-step instructions for prepping ahead of time, simplifying the process, and even party planning. Don't have a grill? He has tips for grilling inside. This guy is not taking anything for granted and that takes the pressure off the tentative cook nervous about watching pizza dough slide into the coals.

I was especially intrigued by some of the unique combinations that Priebe offers. He has the standard Margherita and American style "combo" pizzas that we might expect. However, he also has some ideas that literally had my mouth watering when I was reading the ingredients. For example:
  • The Moroccan (curried chicken, roasted garlic, and Kalamata olives)
  • The Asperago (asparagus with pesto, pine nuts, and Brie)
  • The Millennium (ground lamb, feta, and Kalamata olives)
He also introduced me to the concept of Piadinas which are a popular Italian flatbread sandwich. After the flatbread is grilled for a minute or two on each side, they are filled with various tasty combinations of ingredients.

Ideas for salads are also included as are grilled pizza ideas for desserts. I must say that I usually am not interested in the idea of "dessert" pizza which I occasionally encounter in various cookbooks. However, the Cinnamon Churros, or as he describes them, "sugary crusts with ice cream and syrup" did capture my imagination ...

Combine this intriguing content with DK Publishing's trademark lush photography and clear, simple layout and you have a single subject cookbook that is a winner. When our "festival month" of May is over and I have time to think about cooking then you may be sure I will be exploring some of these recipes.

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