Grilled Pizza with Beet Greens and Goat Cheese
Crispy grilled pizza crust, topped with goat cheese, greens and tomatoes. No party trick here, just really great food.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 fat clove garlic
1 medium tomato
1 4-ounce log of goat cheese at room temperature
Flour for handling the dough
Cornmeal (optional but strongly encouraged) for ease of handling dough
1 store-bought or homemade multigrain, whole grain or white pizza dough
1 recipe Cremini Beet Greens (using the full 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in the recipe), warm or at room temperature
Oil for the grill grate if needed
1. Use a microplane or garlic press to pulverize the garlic, then stir it into the olive oil along with a pinch of salt. Set aside, preferably in a warm place, to let the flavors of the garlic exude into the oil. You can do this just as you begin to make this recipe, but if you happen to do it ahead of time, so much the better.
2. Cut the goat cheese into chunks and put them in a bowl.
3. When you're ready to start making the pizza, dice the tomato, remove the seeds and stir in a pinch of salt (doing this too far ahead can disintegrate the tomatoes a little more than you want).
4. Flour your hands and a work surface and stretch the dough into a rough 16" circle (or whatever other shape you happen to achieve; rustic, oddly-shaped pizzas can be very appealing). The real key is to avoid holes or extreme thin spots in the dough. For best results, aim for about 1/8-inch uniform thickness across the main body of the pizza (edges can be thicker).
5. When fully stretched, lay the pizza on a pizza peel or large cutting board that has been dusted with cornmeal, so that the dough will easily slide off onto the grill later.
6. Heat a gas grill to high heat with the lid closed, so it gets very searingly hot. (Unless you are highly experienced with grilling pizzas over charcoal, I don't recommend testing your luck with this recipe on a charcoal grill. It can get pretty tricky to control the heat effectively.)
7. Assemble everything near the grill so you'll be ready to work quickly: olive oil/garlic mixture with a pastry brush, goat cheese chunks with a spoon for spreading, diced tomatoes with a spoon, beet greens and stretched pizza dough.
8. When the grill is very hot, brush it if needed. If your grate has rough spots that food tends to stick to, you may need to oil the grate to prevent the dough from sticking. Once the grate is prepared, close the lid again to retain the heat until you are ready to grill the pizza.
9. Gently shake the pizza peel or cutting board back and forth to confirm the dough can move freely and hasn't stuck to it. If it has, carefully dislodge it and use more cornmeal or flour underneath if needed to keep it unstuck.
10. Open the grill lid and carefully lay the pizza dough on the grate, starting at the back of the grill and sliding it off the pizza peel onto the grate as you work toward the front. Close the lid and let the pizza dough rise and cook for about 1 minute, give or take, depending on the heat of your grill. If you have hotter and cooler spots on your grill (as I do), you may want to shift the position of the pizza dough partway through to cook it evenly all over. Use tongs as needed to partially lift the dough so you can see what's going on underneath.
11. When the dough is crisp and browned evenly on the underside, it's time to flip it over. Slide your pizza peel or cutting board underneath it, and flip it over onto the other side like a giant pancake.
12. Turn the heat to low and work quickly to add the toppings as follows:
Brush the now-crisp top of the pizza all over with the garlic-olive oil mixture (reserving the unused portion).
Use the back of a spoon to smear the goat cheese evenly all over the pizza, leaving a border of about 1.5 inches all around.
Distribute the beet greens evenly over the goat cheese.
Evenly distribute tomatoes over the greens.
13. Close the lid and cook the pizza for a couple of minutes, letting the toppings bubble and get a little melty. Check the underside of the pizza and shift its position on the grill if needed for even cooking.
14. Use your pizza peel or cutting board to remove the pizza from the grill. Use the pastry brush to drizzle more garlic-olive oil over the top of the finished pizza. Slice and serve hot.