If all you get out of this post is that you should be grilling tomatoes, then my job here is done. (But, really, this super-easy grilled Margherita pizza is the stuff of late-summer-night dreams.)
First, make the grilled marinara sauce (part 1 of the twice grilled Margherita pizza). When charred on the grill, vine-ripened tomatoes get even more tomato-y, and a buzz in the food processor with olive oil, salt, and garlic produce a slightly smoky sauce that takes the tomato-mozzarella-basil pizza concept to a whole new level.
Start with four large, ripe-but-not-overripe tomatoes. Cut them through the equator, carve out the core, and rub both sides of each piece with extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Then slap them on a hot grill and cook until you see char marks on both sides (6-ish minutes per side).
Transfer the grilled tomatoes to a plate and let them cool for 10 minutes. Pour any accumulated juices off the plate and dump the tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a minced garlic clove. Pulse just until it looks like a chunky sauce.
Next, top and grill your dough (part 2 of the twice-grilled Margherita pizza). Roll or stretch your dough and grill it on both sides. Spread a few spoonfuls of grilled tomato sauce on top and scatter on some shredded or sliced fresh mozzarella. Close the lid and let the pizza cook for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Top the pizza with a handful of torn basil leaves, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Mangia!
Twice Grilled Margherita Pizza
- Outdoor grill
- Food processor
- Heavy duty oven/grill mitt
- Long-handled tongs
- wide, long-handled spatula or pizza peel
- Large cutting board
- 4 large heirloom tomatoes (ripe but still firm), cored and halved horizontally
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing/drizzling
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, minced or finely chopped
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough (I prefer Neapolitan, Sourdough, or Overnight Dough for grilling, but any regular pizza dough will work great)
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
- Prepare an outdoor grill for high direct heat. Assemble the following tools and keep them within arm’s reach from the grill: an oven mitt, long-handled tongs, a large spatula or pizza peel, and a large cutting board for the finished pizza.
To make the sauce
- Brush both sides of each tomato slice with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place the tomatoes on the hot grill and cook for about 6 minutes or until you see grill marks. Flip the tomatoes and cook for another 6 to 8minutes.
- Transfer the grilled tomatoes to a plate and let them cool for 10 minutes. Drain off any accumulated liquid. Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and add1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the minced garlic. Pulse just until it looks like a chunky sauce. Pour ½ to ⅔ cup of the sauce into a bowl; save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for pasta later in the week.
To make the pizza
- Place the dough on a floured cutting board and, using your hands, gently stretch it into a 12- to 14-inch square or disk, making sure that it retains the same thickness throughout (more or less). (Alternatively, you can roll it out to a 12-inchsquare or circle.)
- Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Carefully transfer the dough to the grill, oiled-side down, and grill for 3 minutes or until it puffs a bit and the bottom shows grill marks.
- Using long-handled tongs or a pizza peel, transfer the dough to a clean large cutting board, grill marks facing up. Brush the grilled dough lightly with olive oil. Working quickly, spread about ½ cup of sauce on the dough and top with the cheese.
- Using your large spatula or pizza peel, return the topped crust to the grill. Close the grill lid, turn down the heat to medium or medium-high, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Remove the pizza from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes, then garnish with the basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Slice and serve.