Adam and Eve Takeout - BBQ Pizza of Fig, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto

Certain things in life just go together. Adam and Eve. Heather Locklear and David Spade. Barbecues and Pizza…Sometimes the most curious combinations bring about the most delicious results. Chile and chocolate seem made for each other, as I have written about previously here. Combining clams and chorizo, a magical culinary wonderment of Portugal, is something my eyes were opened to on a previous trip to London, as another example.

Okay, from a biblical perspective it’s pretty clear that Heather and Dave getting together was a bad idea…But I am telling you right now that the pizza and the barbecue were meant to be united. And the home cook is the one that gets lucky in this unusual but effective culinary technique hookup.

Assuming we can all agree on the "genesis" of a good pizza – a thin crispy crust, the right balance and quantity of ingredients and a less than obnoxious amount of cheese, a homemade barbecue pizza delivers guaranteed results for the home cook. Any good pizza boils down to how good the crust is. You can have the best toppings in the world, but if the crust isn’t making your heart go wild with desire, that pizza is not going to make it past first base. Don’t think that dressing it up all pretty with a revealing anchovy or sensual wild mushroom is going to help. It may be “perfectly groomed” but everyone will still be able to tell what it really is - one unattractive pizza.

And unless you want to build a wood fired brick oven or buy an expensive high heat pizza maker, you options are pretty limited. Pizza stones, although an attempt in the right direction, provide mediocre results at best. Sort of like an opening pick-up line. Good attempt, poor execution. The premise is right, heat the stone in a hot oven that provides an appropriately hot surface to crisp up the crust in 10-12 minutes without overcooking the entire pizza. However, the results with this approach leave me less than, well, let’s just say “in love”. And that process takes too long, heating the stone and all. The investment in that courtship never winds up how you want it to anyways.

Americans lust for anything related to the barbecue. And not being one to miss out on a good time I have been using the pizza grilling technique since 1994. I was fortunate enough to eye a television demonstration of the concept done by the owners of Al Forno, a restaurant in Rhode Island widely credited with innovating this concept in the United States.

At its core, the pizza is simply a delivery vehicle for good ingredients. And the barbecue approach lends itself to any combination your heart (and stomach) desires. I am a huge lover of tapas and was fooling around with the idea of how I could serve one my favorites created by superstar chef Mario Batali that involved grilled figs with Serrano ham and blue cheese. My challenge involved a tapas appetizer for a dinner party but no easy way of serving such a messy dish while guests were standing up and mingling, iced Pinot Gris in hand. Being the height of fig season, and the fact that it was hot outside, I wanted to provide my guests with a way to enjoy the tapas but not have to use a knife or fork. Or worry about swallowing a large bite as the stuffed and wrapped figs can get pretty large and unwieldy. I also didn’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. My solution was to deconstruct it and transform it into a grilled pizza on the barbecue.

Grilling pizza is very easy to do and success is predicated on preparation before you start cooking. All the ingredients need to be ready to go, literally “mise en place”. Whatever ingredients you are using, make sure they are ready, plated and easily movable to your outdoor BBQ from the kitchen when you are ready to start cooking. Once the dough hits the hot grill, you need to work fast to cover up that naked pizza and you don’t want to be running back to the kitchen in shame prepping anything or your timing will be all off.

From a BBQ perspective, while any heating source will work - gas, charcoal, wood - I consistently get the best results with a gas grill. You can control the temperature throughout the relatively short cooking process which is important. BBQ pizza takes 6-7 minutes to cook completely. I have burned the crust using charcoal for heat. Just ask David (my cousin, not Spade).

Also, a word about making pizza dough versus going the store bought route. Occasionally I make my own dough but I find a negligible difference in quality of the end product versus buying store bought dough for the BBQ method. I use dough made from Trader Joe's, however if your store doesn’t carry it, most independent pizzerias that make their own will sell you pizza dough. Just don’t use a national chain for the dough as it defeats the purpose of highlighting great ingredients for what should be a good time.

Now, take a bite out and tell me how “deadly delicious” and good looking this pizza is. I wonder if Heather and David would have lasted longer had they only tried this instead of eating the forbidden fruit of the old apple tree…

Recipe for BBQ Grilled Pizza with Figs, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
Makes 1 Pizza and serves 2-3 as a main course
or 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients
16 oz fresh pizza dough
Flour for rolling
Olive oil for dough and grill
½ cup fig jam (recipe below) or store bought
4 ripe figs (I prefer Mission but any fresh ripe fig will work)
3-4 oz of Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
3 slices of prosciutto cut into 3” strips
1 TBSP chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Method
Bring pizza dough out of the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, make sure your grill grate is clean and scraped. Heat the BBQ on high for 10 minutes with the top down. Flour a large cutting board or a counter where you can roll out the dough. Flour the top of the dough and roll out the pizza into a roughly 6” by 10” shape with a ¼ inch thickness. Keep in mind when grilling pizza the dough does not need to be round or perfect, it can be any shape when you put it on the grill. Brush olive oil onto the surface of the dough so it is lightly covered.

Open the grill cover and lower the grill heat to a medium high flame. Pickup the dough up and carefully lay it on the hot grate. As you are laying the dough on the grate it will stretch. That’s fine, just make sure it is relatively flat on the grill, again the shape doesn’t matter, oblong, heart shaped, map of Kazakhstan - all are fine. Close the grill cover and let this cook over a medium high flame. After 2 minutes, open the grill and with the tongs check the bottom of the dough. It should be golden with grill marks. You can cook it for one additional minute if the dough is not golden. If there are bubbles on top of the dough you can use the tongs to pierce them. Turn the dough over and bring the heat down to medium low to low.

Spread the fig jam and then crumble the blue cheese over the pizza. Lay out the figs and close the cover, cooking for 4 minutes. Open the grill and check for doneness. If you need another minute, leave the grill on or if it looks done, turn the grill off. Scatter the prosciutto strips over the pizza and then sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Using your tongs slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Recipe for Fig Jam
I use store bought fig jam often, however if you are up for making your own, please try this delicious and easy to make recipe from fellow food blogger Alexa at http://www.artsy-foodie.blogspot.com/.

Ingredients
Makes 1/2 cup
5 ripe figs, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup of water
2 tablespoon of agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of chopped crystallised ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice

Method
Combine all the ingredients in a small pot over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, mixing every few minutes, until thickened to a jam consistency. Cool on a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

21 comments:

The Bullet Proof Gourmet said...

Hi, A great recipe. A simple addition to add a great wood smoke taste to your pizza on a propane grill. For this recipe I would use a good fruit wood like wild apple chips. Soak the chips for a couple of hours, drain, and place in an aluminum pie plate. Set the plate directly on the burning element. When the chips start to smoke, do your thing! Enjoy. The Bullet Proof
Gourmet

Alexa said...

Marc,
Great post. Beautiful recipe. Though Heather Locklear might not want to share it with David... I'm sure she would enjoy a wonderful slice. The combination of ingredients you have chosen sounds delicious and I look forward to trying it. By the way, I think you just came up with a new way of teaching kids geography through food: pizza in the shape of Kazakhstan? :-)

noble pig said...

So glad you cleared up your thoughts on Heather and David because, yeah, that's weird don't you think?

The picture of the pizza...mouthwatering!

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of this pizza. Bookmarked I made some fig jam a while ago and I have been wondering what I could use it for.

Angela said...

Oh, oh, gorgonzola and fig pizza? Stop with the pleasure! Brilliant recipe, Marc. Thanks!

Lisa said...

Hi Marc,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your's looks wonderful!! I'm going to go read all your older posts now and add ya to my blog list!

Lisa
P.S. I hope Food Network doesn't bust me for the Pina Colada Pie recipe too!! LOL

Krysta said...

what is with all the food blogger posting grilled pizza lately? are you purposely trying to make me hungry? i need to go make some pizza, stat!

Erin said...

This is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I am getting extremely hungry!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a great looking pizza combo! I just ate at Mozza for the first time and their pizza was amazing...this one looks like it could make it on their menu too!

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment at Claudia's blog and now I got one more reason to hate my life!

Pizza with figs, prosciutto and bleu cheese! Wow, I could eat that melty, sweet, earthy, salty combo if it was served on an asphalt shingle.

I'm in upstate NY and surrounded by italian americans who obviously don't care for pizza--it's almost uniformly crap. And I'm not talking about something wonderful like the one you picture here. I'm saying a nice crust (thick or thin) a little olive oil, some decent sauce and cheese would work for me. Once I get my oven hooked up I will not be buying pizzas or dough.

Thanks for the recipe.


democommie

cook eat FRET said...

demmo, you're the best

chefectomy! wow. great combo. beautiful. i'll be back for more inspiration soon!

We Are Never Full said...

beautiful! perfect combo of flavors for pizza. although i like grilling my pizza, since falling in LOVE with my pizza stone, i can't just BBQ my dough anymore. I actually use my grill as the oven and place my stone on the BBQ. nothing beats the crust you get with a pizza stone. the grill alone just doesn't give me that crispness I often crave.

love that first paragraph!

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

ok, I MUST try grilled pizza! it seems everyone and their mother is raving about it! your fig/gorgonzola/prosciutto combination sounds heavenly...

bitchincamero said...

Why did I check this at 6pm when I'm still at work?! Fig and prosciutto pizza is my absolute favorite! This looks supremely delicious. Thanks for the tips about gilling!

Layla said...

Looks like an awesome recipe, great combination! I love your recipes and stories!

Food Fiend said...

Figgin' delicious. I love the look of your recipes - figs and gorgonzola - AMAZING.

Elra said...

Ah ha... I thought so..., when you mentioned about store bought pizza dough. TJ's was the first thing come in my mind!
This is one great pizza recipe!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Now that is most definitely my kind of pizza...

cook eat FRET said...

i've never ever made pizza on the grill. ever.

i am now ultra tempted to give it a whirl.

great combo of flavors on this one. really wonderful.

Sophie said...

Looks absolutely fantastic! Can't wait for the fig tree in my garden to get on with things and actually ripen.

I've made a similar pizza in the past with sliced dried figs and an onion jam style sauce (worth considering as a Winter option)

Rogger Mcloud said...

The best pizza I have ever tried is in Buenos Aires in a place called Guerin. You should go and try it. Then you will tell me how to prepare such great pizza. You can rent furnished apartments buenos aires at very low prices. So it worth it.