I love grilling when the weather is cold. It’s a good reminder of warmer days, and grilling food infuses a flavor that’s hard to beat. I grilled my very first pizza a few weeks back and it turned out so good I had to share!
The recipe I came up with was inspired by one I found in Better Home & Gardens for a Carmelized Onion and Apple Tart. The tart combines great fall flavors to create a yummy culinary treat, but I had my heart set on grilling a pizza, so I made some changes to fit my vision. You’ll find my recipe below, but here’s a few quick tips to help the process along…
Dough – You can very easily make your own pizza dough, but it does involve time for the dough to rise, and it can get pretty messy. You can save yourself some trouble by purchasing pre-made dough. I’m not talking about the stuff in a can (although you can certainly use that). I have a pizzeria close to my house that sells a pound of their fresh made dough for 2 bucks. I also have a natural foods store close to work that makes regular and gluten free pizza dough by the pound that can be purchased.
Grilling – You can either use a grill specific pizza pan (I used one from Pampered Chef), or grill the pizza directly on the grill grate. You want to grill directly over high heat. Here are some great tips for grilling a pizza. And don’t worry, if you don’t own a grill you can just as easily bake this in the oven at 450° for 10-12 minutes.
Onions – I used some onions I had left over from a chicken my husband roasted (rather than a rack, he always rests the chicken on top of thick slices of onion to infuse flavor, plus the leftover onions are delicious in sauces and stir-fries, and on pizza!). It was yellow onion, but I do think that red onion will compliment the flavors of the pizza more, and it just looks prettier! In a pinch though, white or yellow onion will work.
Cheese – I switched the cheese in the recipe from Swiss to Manchego. While Swiss can be very mild, Manchego is much saltier. The only drawback is Manchego can be fairly expensive, so if you’re building a pizza on a budget, stick with Swiss, or even the delicious old stand-by, mozzarella.
Fall Inspired Grilled Pizza
1 large red onion, sliced and caramelized in 1-2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 pound pizza dough, and flour for the rolling out process
Olive oil to drizzle over dough
Canadian bacon or thinly sliced ham (1 package of meat is more than enough)
1 red cooking apple (pink lady or honeycrisp), cored and thinly sliced
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
Fresh thyme, leaves stripped off the stems, roughly chopped (about 2 tbsp)
Spread some flour on a clean counter, get some flour on your hands and a rolling pin, and start rolling your dough out into a circle or rectangle. If you have a grill pan, you can use it as a guide. If not, try to roll the circle out to about a 12″ diameter, the rectangle out to 9″x13″. Once your dough is rolled out, place it on your pan (grease the pan a bit first with some olive oil), or if you’re putting the dough directly on the grill, follow steps 4-6 in this tutorial.
Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over dough. Spread caramelized onion over dough, then top with ham and apple slices. Finally sprinkle the Manchego cheese over that delicious heap you just created, and get ready to grill!
Place the pizza on a grill over high direct heat and cover with the lid. On high direct heat in a charcoal grill, the pizza took about 15 minutes to completely cook on a pan (this would likely be the same for a gas grill). Some of the crust did get pretty dark, so I’d start keeping an eye on the pizza at about the 12 minute mark if on a pan, and the 8 minute mark if directly on the grill. You can use a metal spatula to lift up a side of the pizza and check the progress of the dough. The cheese should be completely melted and starting to brown.
Remove from the grill, top with the fresh thyme, and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes before cutting into that bad boy. Poor a glass of easy drinking white wine, like Albariño or Pino Grigio, and enjoy!