We recently told you of a ‘cheat’ way to make fresh pizza directly on your BBQ grill, without the need to buy an expensive pizza stone.
Today, we’re going to give you an ultimate ingredients cheat sheet for making the most memorable Memorial Day pizza that will be the talk of your family and friends for many months…
The tomato sauce
There are many pizza sauces that you can buy at your local supermarket, but we much prefer to mimic what our favorite pizzerias do and use passata.
Passata is what Italians call tomatoes that have been crushed with a food mill or by hand. You can buy cans of passata in most good supermarkets.
It’s a much more ‘pure’ tomato base, without the extra flavorings and ingredients that go in to pizza sauces, which mean you have more of a free reign when it comes to the toppings and combinations you use on your pizza, without flavors clashing.
A rule of thumb to use when working out how much passata you need on a standard 12-14 inch pizza base is that a 28 ounce can has enough passata for 4 pizza bases.
So you only need a quarter of a standard can.
Use too much, and you risk your pizza base becoming soggy.
We love using a combination of two cheeses. For a real professional touch, opt for a hard cheese, such as Parmesan or provolone, and a soft cheese that melts easily, such as mozzarella or ricotta.
We advise that you don’t go overboard with the cheese! First of all, using too much cheese may mean you end up with a ‘cheese fondue’ situation in the middle of your pizza.
Secondly, using more than 2 cheeses is just overkill, and the different flavors start to compete with each other.
Less is more here, so pick 2 cheeses, one soft and one hard, and apply sparingly.
The general rule of thumb here is to think about what you would eat ‘as is’ and what you would need to cook, and then do exactly the same when using an ingredient as a topping on pizza,
So sausages need to be browned, crisp vegies should be thinly slices, and tough greens need to be wilted or charred.
Whatever you wouldn’t eat raw, don’t place onto the pizza raw as you risk burning the crust while trying to cook the toppings.
Some pre-cooked toppings we love are grilled eggplant, wilted kale, charred Swiss chard, caramelized onions, grilled scallions, sliced garlic that have been toasted in olive oil, and grilled tomatoes.
Our favorite raw ingredients are sliced spring onions, sliced red onions, shaved fennel (use a Y-peeler to make this task simple), slices of fresh chilies, herbs (such as oregano, rosemary, thyme etc) and, of course, raw garlic cloves rubbed onto the crust.
Just because we love all these ingredients does not mean we use all of them at once! In fact, as with the cheese combinations, less is certainly more.
Pick just 3-4 topping ingredients so the different flavors don’t start to compete with each other.
Most people stop at the toppings stage, but it’s the final flourishes that really elevate your pizza from ‘standard’ to ‘gourmet’.
The high temperatures achieved in the grill is great for our dough and cheese, but it can take out the freshness of our toppings.
Add the freshness back in with ingredients you add after your pizza has been taken off the grill.
We love adding some freshly snipped herbs (kitchen shears making preparing herbs much easier than using a cutting board and knife), a drizzle of honey or extra virgin olive oil, some freshly sliced chilies, olives, basil pesto, or just some freshly cracked black pepper.
Again, as with toppings, don’t go crazy!
Just 1-2 of these ingredients will add a touch of freshness back into your pizza without the ingredients clashing with each other.
There you have it!
Now get that grill on and come up with your own gourmet pizza that will be the talk of the neighborhood!
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