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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grilled Flat Bread Pizzas

Does the idea of grilling a pizza freak you out?  To some, it's just incomprehensible. I believe that anything can be grilled from fruit to bacon to potato salad.

I've been grilling flat breads and pizzas for many years.  What's the difference between a flat bread and a pizza?  A flat bread is a thinner, crispier dough that does not require yeast and sports less amounts of topping while a pizza tends to have a thicker base with much more toppings and usually covered in cheese.  Flat breads have a greater interest to me for the complex yet simplistic approach and because they are not laden in heavy, greasy cheese so you don't feel weighted down after eating them.

While the options are limitless, below I've given you three superb topping ideas. Try them all together or just one per night- but these delicious grilled flat breads will raise the level of your next barbecue and impress all your guests.  Grilling flat breads is a super fat and happy grilling experience for everyone.

Tips and Techniques:  Make the dough and pre-grill the flat breads up to 2 days prior to your event; store the stack in the fridge wrapped in tin foil.  Make the toppings ahead of time too. Then just add the toppings to the flat breads and grill; this will leave you time to enjoy your guests and your party.  Cut into squares, do not cut into triangles.

Flat Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup semolina flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix all the dry ingredients together with a fork, slowly add the water.   Depending on the humidity that day you may need more or less water.  Only mix this until it just comes together, careful not to over mix and do not knead it.
Divide the dough in half, half again and again until you have about 12 small balls of dough.  Cover them with plastic wrap and and a warm, wet kitchen towel.  Rest for 20 minutes. 

Roll each dough out, you will need a little flour for the rolling surface, into a thin flat bread, place on the grill for about 2 minutes.  Flip and grill on the other side - just until the dough holds its shape.  Remove and cool if not using immediately or top with toppings and place back on the grill until crispy and melty.

Pancetta, Mushroom and Port Pizza

.25 ounces of pancetta- literally two slices, about 1/4" thick
3 small cloves of garlic, minced
4 small to medium sized crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup port
1 Tbls butter
1/2 grated Havarti cheese

Dice the pancetta fairly small and saute until nearly crispy. Pour out most of the grease.  Add the minced garlic and the mushrooms, saute a few minutes until the mushrooms are softened.  Deglaze the pan with the port, continue to simmer until the port is reduced and thickened.  Add a small pat of butter and swirl the pan.

Place a spoonful or two of the pancetta on a flat bread, spread around and sprinkle with Havarti cheese.  Grill over medium-low flames until the bottom is crispy and cheese is melty.

Fennel and Leek Flat Bread

1 leek
1 small fennel bulb
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbls butter
Fresh ground pepper
prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese

Thinly slice the leek and the fennel, saute in 1 Tbls of olive oil and the butter until softened.  Add lots of fresh black pepper.

Spread the remaining olive oil on the flat bread, top with  2 or 3 thin slices of prosciutto, a few spoonfuls of the leek mixture and a few feta crumbles. Grill until the bottom is crispy.

Parsley-Mint Margarita Flat Bread

1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 Tbls fresh oregano
2 tbls fresh mint
4 tbls olive oil
2 tbls walnut oil
1 tbls lemon
2 tbls champagne vinegar
salt and pepper

1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a blender, pulse all the ingredients except for the cheese leaving some texture to the pesto. Add more olive oil as needed.

Spread a spoonful of the parsley mint pesto on a flat bread.  Top with thin slices of roma tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  Grill over medium-low heat until the bottom is crispy and the cheese is melted.

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