Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage, Black Olives, Red Onion, and Feta

With summer rapidly approaching, it's time to brush off those grill-skills (no pun intended) and get back to work.  My favorite grilled foods tend to be those that are typically not considered 'traditional' for grilling. 

Perhaps I get a bit bored with the classic fare. 

In any event, keep your eyes posted for several articles I'm writing for your favorite publications regarding 'alternative' grilling.  Since I finally had a night off, I went ahead and prepared one of my favorites to display here.  If you want to grill indoors, you can grill off the dough on a cast-iron grill pan, and then finish the pizza in an oven heated to 425 Degrees F.  This is a low-key dish that offers up all the comforts of traditional pizza, with a creative twist.  Once you've tasted the crisp charred crust, you'll think twice about delivery.

Pair this up with some fava beans and a nice Chianti :)

Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage, Black Olives, Red Onion, and Feta

½ lb Mild Italian Sausage, casings removed
16 oz Frozen or Refrigerated Store-Bought Pizza Dough
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese, grated
¼ Cup Black Olives, sliced
¼ Cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled

Heat one side of the grill (grill-pan) to medium high; if using charcoal place coals on one side only. In a skillet over direct heat on the grill, brown sausage for 7 - 9 minutes; drain excess fat and set aside. Follow instructions on dough package to allow sufficient time for the dough to rise if needed. Drizzle the olive oil on a non-stick baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough ball in half and roll each half in the oil to coat. Using your hands, roughly work the dough into two equal shapes of your preference, about 8-10 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Make sure the thickness is consistent throughout. Using a paper towel dipped in olive oil, quickly brush the entire grill grate to create a non-stick surface. Carefully place each portion directly over the hot surface of the grill, catching any edges using tongs. After roughly 1 minute, the top of the dough will become puffy and the underside will stiffen, leaving nice grill marks. Immediately flip each portion using tongs and place on the cool side of the grill. Spread an even layer of the tomato sauce on top of each portion, leaving the edges clean to create a crust. Next, top each portion with mozzarella cheese. Working quickly, spread an even layer of the sausage, black olives, red onion, and feta cheese on top of each pizza. Move dough back towards the heat, but not completely over direct heat. Using tongs, continue to rotate each pizza every 45-60 seconds, careful not to burn, to ensure each section receives high heat. Continue for 6-8 minutes covering the grill from time to time, until the top is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Cut each pizza into quarters and serve immediately.

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