Iron-grilled Pizzas

Every food show and magazine likes to extol the virtues of grilling just about anything to capture that “summer” spirit.

For those of us without access to a little, round Sputnik-esque Weber grill — let alone those cow-sized, stainless steel contraptions all the Food Network hosts have — it feels like they’re just taunting us.

Thanks, Neelys, I really would love to try your grilled watermelon.

Yeah, Guy Fieri, your grilled pork tacos do sound amazing.

The worst, though, is seeing those lovely gourmet pizzas bubbling on the grill and knowing I’ll never have them (especially since I live in a city that doesn’t allow grilling — insane, I know!).

Until now.

It took a few tries — and a lot of timing guesswork — but finally, I figured it out. I’m still not 100 percent satisfied with the crust (actually, I tested it with a just-add-water dough mix and it was even better, to be brutally honest), so if you have any improvements, please send ’em my way! After all, I’m not an expert: I’m just hungry and mildly resourceful.

Utensils required: mixing bowl, measuring cups, spoonula, baking sheet, aluminum foil, iron, microwave, microwave-safe plate

Ingredients (makes 2-3 personal pizzas):

  • Dough
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Marinara sauce
  • Shredded cheese (I used mozzarella and parmesan one time and colby jack the second; both were amazing)
  • Chopped vegetables or precooked meat (My pizzas had sundried tomatoes, bell peppers and vidalia onions)
  • Cooking spray

Time commitment: 5 minutes to prepare, 10-15 minutes to bake

Steps:

1. Make sure there’s no water in the iron, then turn it onto the hottest setting (cotton or linen, depending on your model). Keep an eye on it while it heats.

2. If you’re the hotshot who bought prepackaged dough, follow the box’s instructions to prepare the dough. Otherwise, stir in together all the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl.

3. Next, dust some flour onto a clean tabletop (or, in my case, cutting board). Then use a rolling pin (or a clean water bottle/can wrapped in foil) to smooth out oval-shaped pieces of dough roughly the size of your hand. Roll out the crust so it’s about as thick as two quarters stacked on top of each other (or thinner, if you can manage).

4. Grab a sheet of aluminum foil that’s large enough that it covers the dough. Spritz one side of the sheet with cooking spray and place the dough on top of it. Fold over the foil so the dough is loosely wrapped.

5. Place the iron on top of the pizza dough and let it sit there for five minutes, occasionally repositioning the iron so that the entire surface of the dough gets cooked. Then flip it and repeat the process on the other side for another five minutes.

6. Using oven mitts or tongs, carefully peel back the foil to make sure the dough is lightly golden and thoroughly cooked. If it is, set the dough on a microwave-safe plate and pour on about 2-3 tablespoons of marinara sauce before layering on the cheese.

7. For slightly crunchy, caramelized veggies, place your vegetable toppings on the tin foil and lightly coat them with cooking spray and a sprinkle of pepper. Wrap the tin foil into a little packet, then place the iron on top for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.

NOTE: Do not attempt to cook raw meat using the iron or microwave, as they may not be able to get hot enough to kill bacteria.

8. Layer on the shredded cheese and toppings, then pop the whole thing in the microwave for one minute, or until the cheese melts.

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