Image of the Brooklyn Bridge that I created for a graphic design class
© Xristina Marie
I never realized how many people think it is weird when I order a “large pie” rather than a “large pizza”. Having lived in several parts of the country since I was 17, I slowly learned that there are many things different about the way I speak, especially my accent. Although, I still don’t think I am the one with the accent! Everyone always says, “you must be from New York.” Why yes, how did you possibly guess? Being a New Yorker, I feel it is my moral obligation to show you how I make some delightfully mouth-watering pies, pizza pies.
What you’ll need:
Pizza dough (I usually make my own dough but I was short on time so I bought some from a local bakery instead. If you feel like kneading and waiting for it to rise and refrigerate, by all means go ahead.)
Toppings for pie 1:
1 onion, caramelized; I used a vidalia onion
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Sugar, a pinch
Toppings for pie 2:
Boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast (optional)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Start by preheating the oven to 425°. Place the cherry tomatoes and enough garlic for both pies in a pan. Cut just the tips off from each garlic clove before roasting. This step will make it easier to just squeeze out the roasted garlic after it is cooked, rather than peeling each clove. Coat the tomatoes and garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes and garlic are soft. Squeeze the roasted garlic into a separate bowl and add some olive oil. With a fork, mash the cloves into the olive oil. Set the tomatoes and garlic aside.
Heat your grill. I used one pizza dough and cut it in half so I could make two smaller pies. Always flour your surface. Work the pizza dough into the best shape you can get it. I used to work at a pizza place so I applied the techniques I learned there, but my pizza still came out looking like an amoeba. After you get the dough shaped, brush the top side with the roasted garlic olive oil that you previously set aside. Place the dough on the grill. You can either place it directly on the grill or on a piece of foil. I just placed it directly on the grill and only used foil for the second time around, to melt the cheese. Watch it closely because it will burn if it is left for too long. Once you see bubbles start to form, remove the dough from the grill. Using a basting brush, brush the garlic oil onto the top of both pies.
For pie 1:
Slice an onion into fairly thick slices. I used a vidalia onion because they are naturally sweet. Add olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the sliced onions and allow them to start to soften. Season the onions with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Stirring the onions frequently, scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking the onions on medium heat until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Thinly slice the zucchini into discs. Place them on a piece of foil, coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put them on the grill. The zucchini slices only take a few minutes. You just want them to soften. When the zucchini is cooked and the onions are caramelized, start arranging them on the dough. Scatter the goat cheese liberally over the entire pie.
Place the pizza back onto the grill to melt the cheese. This works best if the grill cover/lid is closed. When the cheese is melted, remove the pie from the grill and top it with fresh arugala. The flavors of this pie are perfectly balanced. The sharpness of the goat cheese compliments the sweetness from the caramelized onions, while the arugala adds a slight peppery flavor and freshness. I must say, I did a splendid job on this one.
For pie 2:
If you decide to use the grilled chicken as an additional topping, salt and pepper the chicken, place it on the grill and cook it for about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. You already brushed the dough with the roasted garlic oil. Now, arrange the roasted cherry tomatoes on the dough. Place slices of fresh mozzarella between the tomatoes. Put the pie onto the grill to melt the fresh mozzarella. In the mean time, slice the grilled chicken breast. You do not want to top the pizza with the chicken until the cheese is almost melted. If you put the chicken on the pizza before placing it back onto the grill, you run the risk of over-cooking the chicken breast.
When the pizza comes off the grill, top it with a basil chiffonade. To cut the basil into thin ribbons, roll the leaves up into a bunch and thinly slice.
These can be done just as easily in the oven. If you choose to make these in the oven, I would recommend using a pizza stone. Cooking them on the grill just adds a nice charred flavor, imitating brick oven pizzas from the best places in New York City. These eats are fast, simple and delectably satisfying.
With love from New York City,
The Refined Palate
© 2011 Xristina Miros