Taking a BLT from sandwich to pizza via the grill
By ELIZABETH KARMEL
The Associated Press
BLT sandwiches are synonymous with summer. And the only thing better than a BLT sandwich is a grilled BLT pizza!
Once you’ve had grilled pizza, you’ll never want to eat pizza any other way. Grilling solves the age-old problem of a soggy pizza crust. This is because the toppings go on after the crust is already grilled, so every slice will always be crispy, crunchy and slightly smoky.
The key to grilled pizza is using a combination of direct and indirect heat. You start by grilling the crust on one side over medium direct heat. Then you flip the dough, add the toppings to the grilled side, then continue cooking everything over indirect heat. This prevents the bottom from burning while the cheese melts.
GRILLED BLT PIZZA
Start to finish: 30 minutes
When grilling pizza, it is important to have all of your toppings prepped and nearby before grilling the crust. Once the crust is on the grill, the pizza comes together very quickly. You’ll need a rimless baking sheet to help transfer the pizza during cooking. Don’t have one? Use a rimmed sheet turned upside down.
1 heart of romaine lettuce
¼ cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
1 cup summer tomato-basil sauce (see recipe below)
8 strips center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 ounces blue cheese or brie, sliced or cubed
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
Ground black pepper
Heat a grill to high. Once grill is hot, reduce it to medium. If desired, place a ceramic or cast-iron grill pan on the grates and let it heat before making pizza. You also can grill pizza directly on the grates.
Cut romaine heart in half lengthwise, keeping the core intact. Using 1 tablespoon of oil, brush both halves with oil on all sides, then sprinkle with salt. Grill over direct heat until outer leaves are charred but the inside is still crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Trim off and discard the tough end/core of each half, then slice crosswise into ½-inch-wide ribbons. Set aside.
Dust a work surface lightly with grits or polenta, then roll out the dough over it. Aim for the dough to be about ¼-inch thick. Brush the dough liberally on both sides with olive oil, using about 2 tablespoons.
Place the dough on the grill grates or grill pan and immediately close the lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is marked and golden brown. Use tongs to transfer the dough to a rimless baking sheet, flipping it grilled side up as you do so. Turn off one side of the grill or bank the charcoals to one side to prepare for cooking with indirect heat.
Drizzle olive oil over the grilled side of the dough. Spoon sauce over the surface of the pizza, then sprinkle with bacon and both cheeses. Using tongs to guide it, slide pizza off the baking sheet and onto the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the tomatoes are warmed through.
Use tongs to return pizza to the baking sheet. Top pizza with the romaine, then season with salt and pepper. Slice and serve immediately.
Start to finish:
10 minutes active
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 1 pound vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes, diced)
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large fresh basil leaves
In a medium nonreactive metal or glass bowl, mix together all ingredients except basil. If serving within 1 to 2 hours, let stand at room temperature so tomatoes release their juices. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to use, mix, then drain through a mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Just before using, chop and mix in basil.