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FOOD: From sandwich to pizza, BLT a tasty combo

by ELIZABETH KARMEL Associated Press on September 04, 2013 11:00 AM

BLT sandwiches are synonymous with summer. And the only thing better than a BLT sandwich is a grilled BLT pizza!

Once you’ve had grilled pizza, you’ll never want to eat pizza any other way. Grilling solves the age-old problem of a soggy pizza crust. This is because the toppings go on after the crust is already grilled, so every slice will always be crispy, crunchy and slightly smoky.

There are a few tricks that will help you perfect pizza on the grill. It is not essential that you make your own dough; you can buy it from the grocer or from your favorite pizzeria. But it is essential that you take the dough out of the refrigerator an hour before you want to use it. This will warm the dough and allow it to relax, making it much easier to work with.

And don’t worry about rolling the dough into a perfect circle. In fact, I prefer a more organic and odd shape.

 

GRILLED BLT PIZZA

When grilling pizza, it is important to have all of your toppings prepped and nearby before grilling the crust. Once the crust is on the grill, the pizza comes together very quickly. You’ll need a rimless baking sheet to help transfer the pizza during cooking. Don’t have one? Use a rimmed sheet turned upside down.

1 heart of romaine lettuce

Olive oil

Kosher salt

1/4 cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough

1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature

1 cup tomato-basil sauce or fresh tomatoes with basil and garlic

8 strips center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 ounces blue cheese or brie, sliced or cubed

4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

Ground black pepper

Heat a grill to high. Once the grill is hot, reduce it to medium. If desired, place a ceramic or cast-iron grill pan on the grates and let it heat before making pizza. You also can grill the pizza directly on the grates.

Cut the romaine heart in half lengthwise, keeping the core intact. Using 1 tablespoon of oil, brush both halves with oil on all sides, then sprinkle with salt.

Grill over direct heat until the outer leaves are charred but the inside is still crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Trim off and discard the tough end/core of each half, then slice crosswise into ᄑ-inch-wide ribbons. Set aside.

Dust a work surface lightly with grits or polenta, then roll out the dough over it. Aim for the dough to be about ᄐ inch thick. Brush the dough liberally on both sides with olive oil, using about 2 tablespoons.

Place the dough on the grill grates or grill pan and immediately close the lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is marked and golden brown. Use tongs to transfer the dough to a rimless baking sheet, flipping it grilled side up as you do so. Turn off one side of the grill or bank the charcoals to one side to prepare for cooking with indirect heat.

Drizzle olive oil over the grilled side of the dough. Spoon the sauce over the surface of the pizza, then sprinkle with bacon and both cheeses. Using tongs to guide it, slide the pizza off the baking sheet and onto the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are warmed through.

Use tongs to return the pizza to the baking sheet. Top the pizza with the romaine, then season with salt and pepper. Slice and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 450 calories; 290 calories from fat; 33 g fat (12 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 21 g protein; 1,120 mg sodium.

 

SUMMER TOMATO-BASIL SAUCE

Start to finish: 10 minutes active

Makes 1 3/4 cups

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 1 pound vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes, diced)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 large fresh basil leaves

In a medium nonreactive metal or glass bowl, mix together all ingredients except the basil. If serving within 1 to 2 hours, let stand at room temperature so the tomatoes release their juices. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to use, mix, then drain through a mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Just before using, chop and mix in the basil.

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