Wood Fire Pizza – Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean

Mediterranean

Greetings all!

So John has purchased a new barbecue. We now own four different meat cooking devices in our yard (plus one borrowed) – the Bradley smoker, the Weber propane BBQ, the bullet smoker (we call it R2D2 thanks to the cylinder shape), and the newest member of our family, John’s Kamado – a ceramic charcoal grill and smoker.  Plus we are testing out a wood pellet smoker on loan from John’s uncle Tom.  Our deck looks like an outdoor cooking show set.

As there is a lot to be said about this new Komado BBQ, but for today’s purposes, I am just going to focus on the pizza cooking abilities of this thing… we will save a more detailed look at the new BBQ for another day!
John says:

“With it’s 3000 year old ceramic dome design and lava stone it is a perfect pizza oven with that true wood fire taste.”

You might think that you are familiar with wood fire pizza. Like I was, you are possibly under the impression that this is how they cook their pizzas at Famoso.  John enlightened me that this is wrong! Famoso uses gas fire as do many other restaurants. So as John and I couldn’t remember ever having a real wood-fire pizza, we were pretty excited to try this out.

John typically does not frequent the Italian Center but I managed to drag him there anyways. We first had to source our pizza ingredients – dough and pizza sauce of the highest quality. We were intent on making our own dough from scratch. But while running low on time, we realized that we could purchase fresh made pizza dough from the west end Italian Center!  At around $1.50 per crust, we couldn’t say no. We bought 6 cute little bags of dough for our pizzas.
Pizza SauceNext, we had to select our pizza sauce. After talking to some of the staff, they guided us to the house favourite, ‘Mutti’ pizza sauce. Unprompted, even the cashier commented on how much she liked the product while we were checking out. (Pictured left)

So equipped with dough, pizza sauce and a pile of other pizza ingredients, we headed home to start dinner.

Our goal for our pizza night was to come up with different and unique pizzas to cater to all taste buds. As two people can’t eat 6 pizzas (not even if John is one of them,) we had to have Cody and Jackie over for dinner. Cody had actually purchased the same BBQ as John a few weeks earlier, so this was definitely a group experiment.

So the boys went outside to fire up the grill, while Jackie and I tried to figure out what to do with the dough.

I rolled out the first ball of dough into a nice flat and round pizza crust. What didn’t to me occur until that moment was how fragile the dough would be. It would have been nearly impossible to lift that uncooked thin crust, heavy with toppings, off the table and onto the Komado, especially since we didn’t have one of those pizza board/shovel thingies big enough for the pizza. So the boys came up with a solution to staggered a couple of cutting boards on top of each other and smothered them with cornmeal. Jackie and I would make the pizza right on top, and the boys would carry the pizza out and plop it on the BBQ.

So after about 5 minutes in 700+ degree temperature, our first pizza was ready to taste!

PIZZA I: Buffalo Chicken

For our buffalo chicken pizza, John pre-cooked the chicken in Louisiana buffalo sauce. Topped with the buffalo chicken and pickled banana peppers, this pizza definitely packed a spicy punch. Before serving, we drizzled the pizza with honey and crystals Louisiana hot sauce (I just learned that this is a thing.)

So once we were done devouring the first pizza, it was on to number two. Jackie and I got working on rolling out the dough and topping the pizza while the boys got the BBQ to temp. This is how we did the whole meal: creating and cooking each individual pizza before all sitting down to eat it. (It took us hours to finish dinner!)

PIZZA II: Mediterranean

This pizza was my baby. I brushed the crust with olive oil and my new favourite spice (as you all know) za’atar. I added a very light dabbing of pizza sauce and just a sprinkling of mozzarella. Toppings included chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic chunks, basil, black olives and feta. Simply delectable! (This pizza will be this week’s recipe)

PIZZA III: Cappricollo and Peppers

Spicy cappricollo with red and green peppers were featured in this Italian inspired pie. With crust brushed in olive oil, thyme and oregano, and topped with mushrooms, onions and fresh basil. Unfortunately, John got the grill a little hot on this one (over 800 degrees!) so this one was a little on the crispy side, but still delicious!

PIZZA IV: Vegetarian

Our vegetarian pizza was topped with artichoke hearts, red and green peppers, and onions. Jackie provided some arugula, which made this pizza just that much better

PIZZA V: Soppressata and Pineapple

Our last pizza of the day packed quite the kick with spicy soppressata and banana peppers, with sweet pineapple to even out the taste. Yes, I know, the crust is a pretty weird on this one, but you can’t win them all – well actually, I didn’t feel like redoing it. It all tastes good.

And yes, I am aware of my inability to make a round pizza crust. Oh well, doesn’t change the taste!

So this week’s recipe: Mediterranean Pizza

TIPS:
– Go to the Italian Center and buy your crust and sauce … a real time saver that creates a delicious pizza!
– The za’atar was a nice touch, but if you don’t have it on had try just basting the crust with olive oil and garlic.
– The use of cornmeal will keep your pizza crush from sticking to the table or the pan. If you are baking your pizza in the oven, I would suggesting building the pizza right on the pan if you are using fresh dough.
-These Pizzas can be cooked on the BBQ at temps of 500-600F on a pizza stone.

Special thanks to John for providing the pictures and technical BBQ descriptions and tips, and to Cody and Jackie for helping out in what was a pizza party to remember! Our next pizza quest will be to make our own dough and sauce. So stay tuned for the second installment in our pizza saga! (Date: TBD)

Bon appetit,

Julie

Click here to view printable version of recipe:
Mediterranean Pizza

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Mediterranean Pizza

Thin crust pizza crust
Olive oil and za’atar or oregano and garlic – use to brush crust
A very light layer of pizza sauce
A light sprinkling of mozzarella cheese
Chicken – pre-cooked, fried in a Mediterranean seasoning (or herb of your choice) and thinly sliced
Sun dried tomatoes
Fresh basil
Chopped garlic
Sliced black olives
Feta cheese

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