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Grilled Sausage and Fig Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese

Serves: Yields 4 individual (6-inch) pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 6 firm-ripe mission figs, trimmed and cut into eighths
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Cornmeal, for dusting pizza peel
  • 1 recipe pizza dough from scratch
  • ½ recipe white pizza sauce (recipe follows)
  • ½ pound thinly sliced Spanish chorizo sausage
  • 2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


White Pizza Sauce

This easy-to-make pizza sauce is rich in flavor and makes the perfect base for vegetables, seafood or meats.

Yields 1-½ cups

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Basic Pizza Dough

  • 3 cups Italian “00” flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup hot water (120°)
  • 1/3 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil for brushing


Procedures:

The flavor of sweet fresh figs, spicy sausage and salty, creamy gorgonzola cheese makes for a wonderful flavor combination. Fresh figs are best in this recipe, however, dried figs can be substituted.

Make the pizza dough and let sit overnight:

Place the hot water and yeast into a stand mixer bowl, and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. After yeast is activated, add the flour and salt to the bowl. Attach the dough hook and mix on low for one minute to incorporate, then switch to a medium speed to knead the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the pizza dough from the mixer and place in a bowl that’s twice as big as the ball of dough. Rub olive oil all over dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to proof.

The next day, turn the dough out on a work surface and cut into four equal pieces. Knead each piece of dough into a rough ball of dough and brush all sides with more olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight again.

The next day, about three hours before you plan to cook your pizzas, remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature. Dust your hands in flour and stretch the balls of dough into 6-inch rounds. Follow instructions for making the pizza and adding the sauce.

Make the white pizza sauce:

Place the butter into a medium saucepan and place on the stove over medium heat to melt. Once melted, add the shallots and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Using a whisk, stir in the flour and cook until a thick paste forms, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and smooth, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Follow instructions for making the pizza and adding the sauce.

To prepare figs: Place the figs in a medium bowl, add the vinegar and toss until well combined.

To make pizza: Prepare a hot charcoal fire, preheat a gas grill to high, or heat a large grill pan over high heat. Brush grill grates or grill pan with a thin coating of vegetable oil using a silicone pastry brush.

Bring rimmed baking sheet of dough rounds to grill and remove plastic wrap. Lightly dust a rimless baking sheet or pizza peel and transfer pizza to the pizza peel with cornmeal. Give the peel a little shake to make sure that the dough moves freely and is not sticking.

Carefully transfer dough rounds to grill grates. Place 2 to 3 dough rounds on grill, cover and cook until grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes. Open grill and transfer dough rounds to another rimless baking sheet, pizza peel or large cutting board. Repeat with remaining dough rounds.

Flip each dough round so the grill marks face up. Using a silicone spatula evenly spread the pizza crust with the white sauce. Arrange the figs and sausage around the pizza base and sprinkle with gorgonzola cheese. Return topped dough rounds to grill, cover and grill until the cheese melts and the second side is cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve: Remove the pizza from the grill and place on a cutting board, leaving the pizza to rest 1 to 2 minutes so the cheese cools slightly. Cut and serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur La Table kitchen

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