August 18, 2009
In Bowen, my in-laws have the typical outdoor parilla–a sort of brick grill that's a must-have in any Argentinean backyard. But they also have a wood-fire clay oven, which is the ideal place to bake bread or grill pizza. Guillermo and I attended a Pizza on the Grill class taught by my friend Shellie, a chef and creator of the KitchenCue videos. Just watching her make it was enough to convince me that I could do it, too. (Actually, I must–otherwise, I would be doing a serious injustice to my tastebuds.)
After Shellie's class, Guillermo was telling me about the pizzas they used to make in that clay oven with such longing in his voice, I thought he needed grilled pizza–clay oven or not! Well, summer is nearing its twilight and we just finally got around to putting some dough on the grill. You can bet it won't be so long until the next time–grilled pizza is delicious, fast, economical and easy. There's nothing like the taste of that crisp, crusty dough.
Grilled pizza can be prepared on either a gas or charcoal grill. With the gas grill, you'll simply need to set the grill to the medium setting. With the charcoal grill, the heat of the coals is a bit more difficult to manage, either briquets or wood coals may be used. Any way you grill, this is a simple and savory meal. The pizzas are best made at about 10 inches–a manageable size to flip. We pushed the hot coals into an even layer, with most of the coals piled around the edges of the grill rather than the center. Grilling without scorching may take a bit of practice.
The topping here is called Fugazza–a typical Argentinean topping for pizzas or a stuffing for empanadas (sometimes called fugazetta.) If you think it sounds like 'Focaccia,' you're right on–the dish originated in Italy, just like many Argentinean families. We also made a couple of cheese and tomato sauce pizzas–you can use any toppings you enjoy. The size is also nice for a family 'pizza party'–kids can assemble their own to taste. (Though they will need assistance on the hot grill.)
Pizza Fugazza a la Parilla
Fire-grilled Fugazza Pizza
I used a standard pizza dough recipe–if you have a favorite, try that one!
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon active yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
olive oil for grilling
Rinse the bowl of a stand-mixer with warm water to heat it. Pour the 1 1/3 cups water into the bowl of the mixer and stir in the sugar and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Stir in the oil and salt. With the paddle attachment, add the flour on a little at a time, stirring until most of the flour has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball. Switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook and set to knead at a medium slow speed for about 5 minutes. Add a bit of extra flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be satiny in texture. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm spot until the dough has risen and doubled in bulk, about an hour.
Meanwhile, if you're using a charcoal grill, start the coals. The coals should be white hot for the pizza.
For the fugazza, heat a skillet over medium heat. Peel the onions and remove the ends. Slice the onions into 1/4 inch-wide rounds. Place into the hot skillet, stirring to coat with oil. Season with the salt, pepper, and oregano. Reduce the heat to low, and cover to cook, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally–the onions should end up soft and flavorful, but not carmelized. Remove to a bowl with a fork to place on your pizza. (If you are using fugazza on an oven-baked pizza, simply spread the onions around the top of the dough and bake. No cheese, no sauce.)
Separate the dough into 4 balls. On a floured surface, roll the dough into four rounds about 1/2 inch thick and about 10 inches in diameter. Remove to a cutting board. Take out to the grill. Lightly brush one side of the dough rounds with olive oil. Placing the oiled side down, put the dough rounds on the grill. They should be a decent distance apart, not touching. (We grilled two at a time for space.) Brush the side that is face-up with a bit of the olive oil. After about two minutes, (depending on the heat of your grill) flip the dough. Then quickly add your toppings, and close the cover on the grill. For fugazza, the only topping is the flavorful onions–no cheese, no sauce. Allow to cook for another few minutes, until the cheese, if you are using it, has melted, and the bottom is nicely browned. Remove from heat, slice and serve.