Grilled Pizza with Fig Jam, Prosciutto, Blue Cheese, and Arugula Inspired by a main-course salad that combined grilled figs with slivers of prosciutto and blue cheese on a bed of arugula, I came up with this great combination for a grilled pizza. I substituted fig jam for the grilled figs so there would be a little “glue” on the crust to hold the toppings, and then scattered the prosciutto and blue cheese over top. When baked, the prosciutto crisps at the edges and the cheese warms and softens without melting completely. The arugula garnishes the top, adding color, texture, and a peppery, assertive flavor to the pizza.
Pizza Dough for Grilled Pizza (recipe follows), at room temperature
1/3 cup fig jam
3 ounces prosciutto di Parma thinly sliced, cut crosswise into thin strips
4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
1 bunch (about 2 ounces) arugula tough stems removed
Flour and medium-grind yellow cornmeal for dusting
Vegetable oil for brushing
Pizza Dough for Grilled Pizza
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (90° to 100°F)
1/4 cup rye flour
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for oiling the bowl
3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
Have the pizza dough covered and ready to roll out.
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. Place the fig jam, prosciutto, blue cheese, and arugula next to the grill, ready to top the pizza.
Generously dust a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet with flour and then cornmeal. Flatten the dough on a heavily 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 1/4 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 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 fig jam evenly over the lightly charred crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Scatter the prosciutto over top. Evenly distribute the blue cheese over the prosciutto. Slide the pizza back on the grill towards 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 and the cheese has melted, 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. Remove any excess flour and cornmeal from the pizza peel or baking sheet and use it to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Distribute the arugula evenly over the pizza. Slice the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.
Pizza Dough for Grilled Pizza
I have been using this dough recipe for years when making grilled pizza; it’s adapted from Alice Waters’s cookbook, Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone. Often, I will double the dough recipe so I have an extra portion to freeze for an easy weeknight meal or spur of the moment entertaining. This dough is easy to work with, the texture and crispness of the crust is fabulous, and the subtle flavor that comes from the addition of rye flour makes the crust distinct and delicious. Look for rye flour in bulk at natural-foods stores. Substitute whole-wheat flour, if desired.
To make the dough by hand: Begin by making a sponge. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Add the rye flour and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water, the olive oil, salt, and all-purpose flour to the sponge. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough, incorporating as much of the flour as possible. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. It will still be a little sticky but shouldn’t stick to your hands. Add only a minimum amount of flour to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. Generously oil a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then place a clean, damp kitchen towel over the top.
To make the dough using a mixer: Fit a heavy-duty stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. In the mixer bowl, stir the yeast into 1/4 cup of the warm water. Add the rye flour and mix on low speed until combined. Place a damp, clean kitchen towel over the mixer to cover the bowl and let the sponge rise for 20 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water, the olive oil, salt, and all-purpose flour to the sponge. Mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and the dough gathers together to form a coarse ball, about 3 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes and then mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 minutes longer. Even if the dough seems too sticky, turn the dough out on a well-floured work surface and knead for a minute or two until it forms a smooth ball, adding up to 2 tablespoons of additional flour, if necessary. Generously oil a large bowl, (or use the mixer bowl), add the dough, and turn to coat on all sides.
To allow the dough to rise: Set the bowl in a warm spot (a pilot-heated oven is a good spot, or an electric oven turned to 150ºF for 5 minutes and then turned off). Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it, and allow it to rise for another 40 minutes. The dough is now ready to be rolled out. (If you want to make the pizza dough ahead, after the first rising, the dough can be punched down and placed in a large lock-top plastic freezer bag. Refrigerate the dough for up to 12 hours. Bring the dough to room temperature before completing the final rise. Alternatively, freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bring the dough to room temperature before completing the final rise.)
Makes 16 ounces dough, enough for one 12-inch pizza.