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Grilled Pizza with Mozzarella, Arugula and Chile Oil

Serves: Makes 2 to 4 servings


  • Dough:
  • ¾ cup warm (105°F to 115°F) water
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
  • About 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • Chile Oil:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • Other ingredients:
  • Cornmeal, for dusting the pizza peel
  • ½ pound low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • Large handful of baby arugula


Wispy leaves of young arugula are used like an herb in this recipe, sprinkled on the sizzling pizza just as it comes off the grill. Note the long, slow rise on the dough—a total of six hours—which produces a particularly light, chewy and flavorful crust.

To make the dough, put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the surface with the yeast. Let stand for 2 minutes to soften, then whisk with a fork to blend. Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and salt, then begin adding 1½ cups of the flour gradually, beating with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. The dough will be very moist and sticky.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead with floured hands until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, incorporating as much of the remaining ¼ cup flour as needed to keep the dough from clinging to your hands or the work surface. The dough will remain moist and a little tacky but should not be sticky. Shape into a ball. Oil a bowl, transfer the dough to it, and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

Punch the dough down. Reshape into a ball, re-cover the bowl, and let the dough rise again for 4 hours.

If using a charcoal grill, prepare a moderate fire. When the coals are ready, arrange them in an even layer on one-half of the grill bed.

If using a gas grill, preheat all burners to high. About 15 minutes before grilling, put a baking stone on the grill rack. The internal temperature of the grill should be 575°F to 600°F.

Punch the dough down, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape into a ball. Dust the surface of the dough with flour, cover with a dish towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.

To make the chile oil, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and salt. Add the oregano, crumbling it between your fingers as you do, and whisk again. Let stand for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

If you are using a round kettle grill with charcoal, you will need to shape the dough into a rectangle so that you can cook the crust first directly over the bed of coals, then flip it and finish cooking it over indirect heat. If you are using a gas grill with a baking stone, you can shape the dough into a circle because you will not need to flip it.

Dust a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet generously with cornmeal. To prepare the dough for topping, you can stretch it with a rolling pin or your hands. Lightly flour a work surface. To use a pin, roll out the dough on the floured surface into a 13- to 14-inch circle or into a roughly 16- by 10-inch rectangle, depending on your grill. Transfer to the prepared peel. To work by hand, flatten the dough into a round, then drape the round over the back of your two flour-dusted hands. Form your hands into fists and rotate the dough on your fists. The dough is supple enough that it will stretch with little effort on your part. Stretch into a 13- to 14-inch circle or into a roughly 16- by 10-inch rectangle, depending on your grill. Transfer to the prepared pizza peel.

If you are grilling the pizza over charcoal, slide the dough off onto the grill rack, directly over the coals. Cook uncovered until the dough begins to puff and blister and the bottom becomes nicely browned or even lightly charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs or your hands, flip the dough over onto the half of the grill with no coals. Working quickly, top with the cheese, spreading it evenly but leaving a ¾-inch rim uncovered. Brush the rim with the chile oil, then drizzle more of the oil, including the garlic and herbs, over the pizza, reserving a little oil for brushing the pizza rim after grilling. Cover the grill and cook until the pizza rim is well browned and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, scatter the arugula over the cheese, and brush the rim with the remaining chile oil. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Eating Local: Reprinted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing, recipes by Janet Fletcher, photography by Sara Remington

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