Saturday, June 25, 2011

BBQ Balsamic Goat Cheese Argula Pizza with Carmalized Shallots & Whole Wheat Crust

I love pie (pizza pie that is) and homemade is always the best when you have time, because you can think outside the box and do things in a nontraditional way.  So think a little gourmet, it's easier than you first imagine, heat up your BBQ and enjoy a gourmet pizza in your own backyard!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

There are a lot of pizza dough recipes out there.  I used recipes for dough from the Food Network and All Recipes.  However, the evening I made these, I decided to give myself a little break and picked up some of Trader Joe's Whole Wheat pizza dough, which worked well too.   But like I said, if you have the time, I encourage you to make fresh dough, but if you don't or want a little break, some of the store bought ones are very good. Again, I'll have a baking day with my sister, Jules who is a professional pastry chef to get some of her recommendations on dough!

Ingredients for the Balsamic Goat Cheese, Arugula & Caramelized Shallot Topping:

  • 1/4 cup of aged balsamic vinegar (this is thicker and a touch sweeter, I highly recommend you pick some up the next time you are at a speciality market.  If you don't have it handy, just use regular balsamic vinegar, you can also simmer it in small sauce pan and reduce it, but then add 1/2 cup and reduce it by half)
  • 3/4 cups of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pealed, and chopped finely
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups of arugula (it comes in handy if you can buy it prewashed)
  • 16 cherry heirloom tomatoes (super sweet and beautiful color!)
  • 1/2 cup of slivered, raw almonds
  • 12 ounces of crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 large shallots
  • 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Drambuie Liqueur (this is a good "staple" to have on hand if you love dishes with caramelized onions or shallots)
  • In general keep your bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil handy--you will be using this to drizzle on both sides of the crust and the grill so the dough does not stick!
Putting it all Together:

Make sure your grill is very clean and turn heat to medium to high.

I like to hand stretch my dough, especially on the BBQ, it looks a little more rustic.  So depending on your preference, roll out the down on a floured cutting board with a rolling pin or stretch and toss by hand in a rounded-rectangular shape and keep on cutting board for time being.

In a mixing bowl or large liquid measure cup add 1/4 cup of the balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk together well and set aside. 

Take almonds and toast on medium to low heat in a small frying pan for about 5 minutes, turning about half way through and set aside. 

Peel and slice shallots thinly. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in small frying pan and add shallots.  You want the shallots to get very brown and soak up the olive oil.  At this point tablespoon of Drambuie and let reduce and fully soak up into the shallots, set aside when done. 

Rinse tomatoes and set aside in bowl, do the same if needed with the arugula.  Take all toppings out to the BBQ and set aside so they are read to go. 

Take dough and drizzle well with olive oil on on side. Also, using Pam Grilling Spray, coat your BBQ well. Remove the down from cutting board and place side with olive oil on grill.  Once the dough is bubbling and lifting drizzle the side facing up and flip over (pulling the edges of the dough from the sides and do quickly, you don't want to touch the grates or burn your fingers, if you are uncomfortable using tongs or a spatula, but your hands are the best way to go).  Turn heat to medium to high (when closed temperature should be about 375).  Take your balsamic mixture and brush about half on the crust.  Add 1/2 of the goat cheese, caramelized shallots, arugula, tomatoes and almonds evenly to the top, drizzle the remaining amount of the balsamic mixture to the top and polish off with the remainder of the goat cheese crumbles.  Close BBQ lid and let cook for about 12 minutes (check about half way in to see if temperature needs to decrease slightly).  A good way to measure that the pizza is done is when most the cherry heirloom tomatoes have collapsed on themselves.

This is a sweet, savory pizza with lots of fresh veggies, bursting with flavor and will leave you feeling satisfied and a little gourmet!


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