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Three Many Cooks: Pizza on the grill
Three Many Cooks: Pizza on the grill: Three Many Cooks whip up a tasty twist on pizza.
Grilled Fresh Tomato and Greek Salad Pizza / Brian Leatart/USA WEEKEND

From the Cooks:

Sharon: Sure, you can make pizza in your oven, but most of our ovens don't get nearly as hot as those big wood- or charcoal-fired ones at the great pizza places. Make pizza on the grill, though, and you can get much closer to that crisp crust and slightly smoky flavor we all love.

Maggy: I’d argue that pizza crust on the grill is even better than pizza crust in the oven. It’s crispier, more flavorful and, of course, anything made on the grill is inherently more fun!

Pam: Grilling pizzas makes so much sense. And the girls are right, the grill method is the best, quickest way to get that crisp crust we all love.

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Grilled Fresh Tomato and Greek Salad Pizza

If making pizza dough from scratch, make a couple of hours ahead and let rise.

4 large Italian plum tomatoes, sliced thin (juice from sliced tomatoes reserved)
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound store-bought (or homemade) pizza dough
Salt and ground black pepper
3 ounces (about ¾ cup) grated mozzarella cheese
4 cups packed arugula or baby spinach
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
2 ounces crumbled feta (about ½ cup)

Turn all burners of a gas grill on high or build a charcoal fire. Meanwhile, lay sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet. Mix 1 tablespoon of the oil with the minced garlic. Drizzle oil over tomatoes; set aside.

Without punching or kneading dough (which makes stretching more difficult), turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, quarter dough crosswise. Working one at a time, stretch each portion into a rustic 12- by 3½- to 4-inch rectangle; transfer to a large cornmeal-coated baking sheet.

Reduce grill heat to medium; lift stretched pieces of dough on grill. Cover and cook until bottoms are spotty brown, moving them around and punching dough down as necessary to ensure even cooking, 3 to 4 minutes. Return pizza crusts, grilled side up, to baking sheet, topping each with a portion of tomatoes (reserving any remaining garlicky tomato liquid). Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and top with a portion of mozzarella cheese. Return pizzas to grill; cover and continue to grill until pizza bottoms are spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board.

Meanwhile, toss arugula with olives, feta, remaining tablespoon of oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Drizzle in reserved tomato juice; toss to coat again. Top each pizza with a portion of salad. Transfer to a cutting board, cut into pieces and serve.

YIELD:
4 servings

Per serving:
475 calories, 56g carbohydrates, 17g protein, 20g fat (6g saturated), 26mg cholesterol, 3g dietary fiber, 1022mg sodium

Simple Pizza Dough

This makes enough dough for eight individual pizzas, but you can always freeze the extras for later.

½ cup warm water and 1¼ cup room temperature water
1 envelope active dry yeast (or a generous 2 tsps.)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2 tsps. table salt

Measure ½ cup warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Whisk yeast into water; let stand until it dissolves and expands, about 5 minutes. Measure in remaining 1¼ cups of water (for 1¾ cups total) and oil to yeast mixture.

Meanwhile, pulse flour and salt in a large food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pour liquid ingredients over flour; pulse to form a rough soft ball. Continue to process until dough is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds longer. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead a few seconds to form a smooth ball. Place in a vegetable cooking spray-coated bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise to double in size, 2 to 3 hours.

Without punching it down, dump dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a chef's knife or a metal dough scraper, halve dough. Proceed with stretching instructions with half the dough. Punch down remaining half and wrap and refrigerate or freeze for another time.

YIELD:
enough for 8 individual pizzas

Per serving: 280 calories, 50g carbohydrates, 9g protein, 5g fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 585mg sodium

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Meet Pam Anderson and her daughters, Maggy and Sharon, together known as Three Many Cooks. Pam and the girls are contributing editors who write our CookSmart column. Check out their blog threemanycooks.com.