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Recipe

The Great Greek Grilled Pizza

Christopher Hirsheimer

Servings: 2- 4

Greek flavors are big and fat. Start with the usual suspects, then add ribbons of grilled zucchini to brighten and lighten the flavor. Every bite will transport you to the Greek islands.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. raw spicy lamb sausage (ideally merguez sausage)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
  • 1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup  black olive tapenade (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1-1/2 cups grated smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Preheat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the sausage from the casing and “scramble” in the pan, breaking up any clumps, until fully cooked. Drain on paper towels and reserve for topping.
  • For a gas grill, heat the grill by setting all burners on high. Close the lid and leave on high for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of all burners to medium.
  • For a charcoal grill, build a fire with 50 to 60 charcoal briquettes. Once the briquettes have become gray-ashed (20 to 30 minutes), bank them to one side on the bottom grate of your grill.
  • While the grill preheats, sprinkle your work surface generously with grits or polenta. We find that a cutting board, the back of a sheet pan, or a pizza peel works best. Place the dough in the middle of the surface and roll in the grits until the ball is evenly dusted. Drizzle the dough generously with oil (the oil helps generate the crispy crust). Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Your ultimate goal is to get the dough 1/8 to  1/4 inch thick. Shape your dough according to your grill configuration (long and narrow if you have a three-burner gas grill or charcoal grill; rounder if you have a two- or four-burner gas grill). Don’t worry about making it perfect—organically shaped crusts are part of the charm of grilled pizza.
  • Brush the zucchini with 1 Tbs. of the oil and lightly salt. Gently place on the cooking grate directly over the heat and grill until soft and well marked, about 3 minutes. Reserve for topping.
  • Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table); if using a charcoal grill, place it on the side opposite the fire. Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!) If using a charcoal grill, rotate the crust 180 degrees and continue grilling until the bottom is well marked and evenly browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. If using a gas grill, check the bottom of the crust; it may be nicely browned already.
  • Use tongs to transfer the crust to a peel or rimless baking sheet, grilled side up. Close the grill.
  • Spread the entire surface with the olive tapenade, then top with the crumbled lamb. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, then add the onion rings, zucchini, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the feta over all.
  • If using a gas grill, switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner(s) if you have a three- or four-burner grill. For a two-burner grill, turn off one burner.
  • Set the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat (the unlit section) and grill, with the lid down, until the bottom is well browned and the cheese is melted, another 7 to 10 minutes. If using a charcoal grill or two-burner gas grill, rotate the pizza halfway through the cooking time.
  • Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Slice and serve immediately.

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