Want a fun, festive menu for a party with friends? Set-up a “make your own” pizza bar. My husband and I have been trying to perfect grilled pizza for about a year. He is the proud owner of a Big Green Egg, which is a ceramic smoker/grill, so this has become our pizza oven. You can use any grill or home oven (but my husband swears by the Egg). After many trial runs, we’ve decided there are three important steps to making the perfect pizza.
- Finding the right dough for the crust
- Preheating the pizza stone
- Transferring the pizza to and from the oven or grill
For the crust, I’ve tried several different recipes but found Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough to be the best. I love it because not only does it make the perfect crust, it’s the easiest of all the recipes I’ve tried. Getting your grill/oven to a high temperature (500 degrees or 750 degrees for the Egg) is critical and preheating the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes is essential. After many failed attempts at transferring the uncooked pizza from the kitchen counter to the pizza peel and then to the grill, my husband found a magical kitchen gadget. It’s called the EXO Super Peel.The peel lifts the uncooked pizza off the prep surface and transfers it right to the grill (no toppings falling off or smooshed pizza).
Click here to see how it works and for the pizza dough recipe, go to Jim Lahey’s Recipe for No-Knead Pizza Dough.
To make it as easy as possible for your pizza party, prep your dough ahead (up to 3 days), make your pizza sauce or use a jarred sauce, prep your toppings (of course I’ll recommend as many vegetables as possible but go ahead and add anything you like). When your guests arrive, give them an apron and have them assemble their own masterpiece. You may want to grill one or two pizzas ahead of time, just to nibble while the other pizzas are being prepared. The pizza cooks fast, about 5 minutes, so you can make them quickly.
Roasted eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, assorted mushrooms, olives, arugula, spinach, onions, chopped figs, pesto, chopped herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary), truffle oil, balsamic glaze, assorted cheeses (mozzarella, Parmesan, goat, feta, blue cheese), sliced meats (if desired), eggs, anchovies
Nutrition Note: You can substitute store-bought dough (Trader Joe’s has a good pizza dough) or purchase dough directly from you favorite pizza shop but it really is very easy, and fun, to make it yourself. I prefer a whole wheat crust but it’s not my families favorite so I used a white dough for this recipe. I love to cover my pizza with lots of vegetables and herbs and if using stronger flavored cheeses like blue cheese or feta, you’ll only need a little to round out the flavor.