Blistered Corn, Asparagus and Pesto Pizza

Blistered Corn, Asparagus and Pesto PizzaMakes 2 to 4 servings
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Suggested Accompaniments
Super Celery Salad – shaved celery and parmesan tossed with lemon juice and olive oil (for a detailed recipe go to “Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ,” Wiley Publishing, 2005, p 204

2 ears corn, husks removed
12 asparagus spears, woody bottoms discarded
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
1 ball pizza dough, at room temperature (store bought or homemade, recipe below)
1 cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade, recipe below)
12 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 4 strips each
6 oz. brie, rind removed if preferred, cut into 1/4-in. thick strips, then 1-in. squares
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove dough from refrigerator and let rise to room temperature. Sprinkle work surface with polenta. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough. Brush both sides with oil.

Preheat your gas grill with all burners on medium high.

Brush corn and asparagus with 2 tbsp of oil and season with salt. Place on the cooking grate directly over the heat and grill, turning occasionally until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool. To remove kernels, slide your sharpest knife straight down between the cob and kernels.

Cut asparagus tips off, then the remaining stalks into 1/4-in. pieces. Reserve for topping.

Pick up dough by the two corners closest to you, and lay down flat on cooking grate from back to front, like a tablecloth. Close lid and cook for about 3 minutes, until bottom is golden brown. Transfer from grill to baking sheet. Flip crust to reveal grilled side. Spread entire surface with pesto. Sprinkle corn, asparagus and tomatoes. Top with cheese.

Reset grill to indirect heat by turning off center burner(s) or one side if grill only has 2 burners. Set pizza back on the cooking grate over the unlit section. Close lid and let heat circulate until bottom is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove pizza from the grill. Season with red pepper, salt and black pepper. Slice and serve.

Basic Pizza Dough – By Machine
Makes enough for 2 pizza crusts

This recipe is so fast that you can start it when you get home from work and be grilling your pizza 30 minutes later. It can be made in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or a food processor.

1 cup lukewarm water
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling bowl
1 ½ teaspoons sugar or honey
1 package rapid rise yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

If your kitchen is cool, preheat the oven to 150 F or the lowest setting.

Pour the water into the work bowl of a large food processor or stand mixer. Sprinkle the oil, sugar and yeast over the water and pulse several times until mixed. Add the flour and salt and process until the mixture comes together. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. (If it is very sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until smooth. If it is too stiff, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until smooth.)

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough in an oiled clean work bowl, turn it over several times in the bowl to coat it with oil, drizzle a little oil over the top, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot or turn off the oven and stick it in there. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 15 minutes in the oven or 1 hour in the warm spot.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Divide into two equal-size balls and proceed with your pizza making. (The dough may be made ahead, frozen for up to a month, and thawed at room temperature before using.)

Basil Pesto
Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly roasted
4 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.
This will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

All the pizza recipes come from, “Pizza on the Grill,” by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer, The Taunton Press, 2008

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