Grilled Ratatouille Pizza
Summer vegetables and fresh pizza dough both do great on the grill.
The coarse Iris N.9 spice blend is a great sprinkling blend and adds a lovely crunch to salads, yogurt, and this healthy vegetable pizza. Leaving the spices whole allows you to experience the various layers of flavors of the individual spices and the nuttiness of the toasted sesame seeds.
Included are instructions for making this in the oven if you don't have a grill.
Grilled Ratatouille Pizza
Adapted from "The Art of Blending" by Lior Lev Sercarz
1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices lengthwise
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
1 yellow bell pepper - stemmed, seeded and cut in half
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices lengthwise
12 garlic cloves, peeled and thickly sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Iris N.9 spice blend, plus extra for sprinkling
Salt to taste
2 cups (1 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, or try making dough from scratch
6 thin slices (about 6 ounces) provolone cheese, cut in half
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Heat your grill to 450°F if using gas, if using charcoal build a 2-zone fire. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, onion, pepper, zucchini and garlic. Add the olive oil, salt to taste, and 1 tablespoon of the Iris spice blend; toss to coat.
Grill vegetables (use a cast iron skillet on the cool side for the garlic) on the hot side of the grill, 2-3 minutes (lid closed) per side. Slice the vegetables into 1 inch cubes and add to the skillet, and cook (lid closed) for 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the skillet along with the other tablespoon of Iris and cook (lid closed) until they release their juices and begin to soften (another 5-7 minutes). Remove the skillet and set aside. Heat the grill to 600°F if using gas.
Alternatively you can prepare the topping indoors as follows: Start with all vegetables chopped into 1-inch dice except for the garlic. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 425°. Place the veggies on a baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast the vegetables until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, stir in the cherry tomatoes and continue roasting, stirring once more, until the tomatoes have started to release their juices, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove the ratatouille from the oven.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, quarter the dough crosswise. Working with one portion at a time, stretch the dough into a 12-by-4-inch rectangle. Transfer to a oiled baking sheet or cutting board. Lay the dough on the grill (on the hot side if using charcoal) and brush the top with olive oil, cook for 3 minutes with the lid off, or 1-2 minutes with the lid on, make sure that the dough does not get too crispy yet, you're looking to set it but not cook it completely. Flip the dough.
Quickly lay slices of provolone cheese over the dough and top each with 1 cup of the ratatouille (you will have 1 to 2 cups of ratatouille left for another use). Bake the pizzas with the lid closed until the crust is crisp and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use your nose, if they smell like they are cooking too fast remove the lid and move them to a cool part of the grill, or turn down the heat. Remove the pizzas from the grill, let cool for a minute, sprinkle with the grated cheese, a splash of olive oil, and additional Iris, and serve.
Recipe from "The Art of Blending" by Lior Lev Sercarz.
Photo © Thomas Schauer
Try making your own dough from scratch.
• If you don't have a grill you can make the pizza in the oven this way. Follow the directions above for prepping the vegetables in the oven (step 3), and step 4, but transfer instead to a cornmeal dusted baking sheet and preheat your oven to 500°F.
•Lay slices of provolone over the stretched dough and top each with 1 cup of the ratatouille.
•Bake until crisp and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. For a browner crust, broil the tops of the pizzas for a few minutes.
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