Grilled Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Red Onion, and Chive Creme Fraîche
Published by Chronicle
Perfect for casual summer parties, a pizza on the grill is something everyone enjoys watching. This pizza also makes a great appetizer, cut into narrow wedges and served with a cold sparkling Prosecco or French Chardonnay.
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre, main course
Dietary Considerationappetizer, hors d'oeuvre, main course
Equipmentgrill, indoor grill
Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, herby, salty, savory, sharp, smoky
Type of Dishpizza
- Pizza dough for grilled pizza, at room temperature
- ¼ cup snipped fresh chives
- ½ cup creme fraîche
- ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces smoked salmon (lox), sliced paper-thin
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Flour and medium-grind yellow cornmeal for dustin
- Vegetable oil for brushing
Have the pizza dough covered and ready to roll out. In a small bowl, combine the chives and creme fraiche. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the red onion with the olive oil, salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Set aside.
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator, separate the slices, and arrange on a plate, ready for topping the pizza. Have the dill in a small bowl ready for garnishing.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat the center burner of a gas grill on high and the front and back or side burners to medium-low. Generously dust a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet with flour and then cornmeal. Have all the pizza toppings set out next to the grill before rolling out the dough.
Flatten the dough on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkling a couple of tablespoons of cornmeal over the flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle 12 to 13 inches in diameter. The dough should be about ¼ inch thick. If the dough shrinks back at the edges, gently stretch it by hand, being careful to keep the dough a uniform thickness. (The dough does not need to be a perfect circle; in fact, an odd-shaped circle gives the pizza a lovely rustic look.)
Using your hands and working quickly, lift and transfer the dough to the pizza peel or baking sheet. Give the peel or sheet a few shakes back and forth to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. Brush the grill rack generously with vegetable oil. Slide the dough onto the center of the grill rack, using a quick jerking motion with your arm. If any part of the dough folds over on itself, use a pair of tongs to unfold it. Immediately cover the grill. Grill until a crust forms and light grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes.
Using the pizza peel or baking sheet, flip the pizza crust over and pull it off the grill. Cover the grill while adding the toppings. (If using a charcoal grill, shovel some of the charcoal to one side to create a cooler section. If using a gas grill, turn the center burner to medium.)
Spread the onion mixture evenly over the lightly charred crust. Using a spoon, drop dollops of the creme frakhe mixture over the onion. Slide the pizza back on the grill toward the hot section, but not directly over it. Cover the grill and bake the pizza until nicely browned and crisp on the bottom and at the edges, about 7 minutes. Check the pizza after about 3 minutes. If the pizza is browning too quickly, slide it over to the cooler part of the grill to finish baking. Arrange the slices of salmon over the onion mixture and garnish with the dill. Cover the grill and bake 1 minute longer. Remove any excess flour and cornmeal from the pizza peel or baking sheet and use it to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Slice the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.
2005 Diane Morgan and Tony Gemignani