Pizza on the Griddle

Men might think they rule the house, but it’s really only on Father’s Day that you have to do whatever they want.
Well, maybe their birthday too. Luckily, the dad in this family is pretty easy to please.

And what’s that, honey? You want pizza for dinner? Oh what a surprise.

Pizza is my husband’s favorite food. He would eat it every night, given the chance. He certainly appreciates very good pizza, but will never turn down even a bad pizza. A couple of years ago we started making pizzas on a griddle.

What began as an experiment has grown into a family favorite. In the winter I’ll make them on a griddle pan stretched over two burners. In the summer, Bob gets to fire up his big new griddle and cook up the pizza outdoors (don’t read anything into this statement that isn’t there).

If you have never griddled pizza before, I highly recommend it. You get a nice smoky flavor and a crust that’s crispy on the bottom but chewy around the edges. I usually buy pizza dough at my grocery store, but I’m sure many of you will want to make it yourself. You can make one or two large pizzas, or you can divide the dough into several individual pizzas. We often do this, so everyone can top their own any way they like.

Brush one side of each piece with some olive oil, and place on the griddle, oiled side down. Cook for about five minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown and has some nice grill lines. We just started using an electric griddle to do this and if you have one with the grill lines on it, it makes for a smashing pizza with some extra taste that you can’t usually get with a traditional grill or oven.

Have your toppings ready, including the sauce (again, some of you will want to make this yourselves. That’s a nice thing and ambitious, but a good jar of sauce is fine) and cheese, plus whatever else you’re using. We like pepperoni, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and some chopped hot sausage. For cheese, you can use the traditional mozzarella or a combination, with Parmesan and asiago. Fresh mozzarella is also delicious.

Stretch the dough into whatever size you want using the “steering wheel” method. Divide the dough and use the heel of your hands to push it out, making a rough circle. Then hold the piece of dough at the top, like you would a car steering wheel, and keep turning. The dough will stretch and thin. Keep turning until you get a size you like. Be careful not to make it too thin, or it will burn on the griddle.

Remove from the electric griddle and place onto a large cookie sheet or cutting board, with the uncooked side up. Brush with olive oil and flip, so that the cooked side is now UP. Cover with the toppings (the kids love to do this). I also like to brush the edges with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Place pizzas back on the electric griddle and cover for 5-10 minutes until cheese is nicely melted. When they come off the grill, sprinkle some fresh basil on top. What I like to do is melt some extra cheese when it’s done with the griddle. You can do this in a few minutes and it tastes amazing!

Jessica, over at the blog Griddle Chef, has some awesome griddle recipes and I just simply love her cooking style. Defintiely would encourage you all to check her out to get some good ideas on how to spice up your dinners using griddles. The best thing about griddles is that they are one of the healthiest materials to cook on and ever since I started using them about a decade ago, I haven’t gone back to tradtional pots and pans ever again.