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Heirloom tomato pizza

Recipe by:Chef Jeff Rossman, San Diego


  • Pizza dough
    4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 3/4 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. instant yeast
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 3/4 cups ice-cold water
    3 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (optional)
    Semolina flour or cornmeal, for dusting
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or roasted garlic oil, for brushing pizzas

    6 small red onions
    6 assorted medium heirloom tomatoes
    24 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
    6 tbsp. fresh basil, whole leaves or chopped


Stir together flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. By hand, stir in oil and water until all is absorbed. Add herbs. Then, using the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl (to me it looks like a tornado). Add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired consistency. The finished dough will be springy, elastic and sticky, not just tacky.

Transfer dough to a floured, flat surface, cut it into 6 equal pieces and mold each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil, place on a well-oiled baking sheet, wrap in plastic and let proof for about 30 minutes.

When you are ready to make the pizza, unwrap the dough balls and dust with flour. Working one at a time, gently press a dough ball into a disk wide enough that you can bring it up onto your knuckles to thin it out. You should be able to pull (or roll with a rolling pin) each ball out to 12 inches or so. If the dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest for another 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pulled-out dough on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and jerk the pan to make sure the dough will move around on the cornmeal. You don't want it to stick to the pan.

Preheat your grill. Slice onions into 1-inch slices, lightly brush with oil and grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Reserve the slices for the top of the pizza. Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices and brush with oil.

Brush pizza dough with oil, season with salt and pepper and begin grilling the first side. When the first side is ready, flip the dough, add the sliced onion, 5 to 6 slices of tomato, about 4 oz. of cheese and about 1 tbsp. of basil on each pizza. Close the lid for about 30 seconds. Open and continue to check the pizza bottom to make sure it doesn't burn. Happy eating!

Chef's tips: Controlling the temperature of your grill is key to your success. When using a gas grill, the lid is your friend. Use the lid to control the heat and to get the hot air circulating all the way around the dough. If you need your toppings to cook or melt more quickly, slap the lid on for a bit. Keep in mind, you have to be particularly vigilant with pizzas, especially those with a thin crust; they'll burn through in a flash.

Broadly speaking, whatever type of outdoor oven or grill you're using, check the bottom and top of the dough, and let it tell you what it needs—more time, more heat, a flip, whatever. Be organized: Once you throw that dough onto the grill, the next steps come in rapid succession whether you're ready or not. If you've never grilled pizzas before, give it a go, but don't be upset if the first one or two aren't perfect. It's fun for a small crowd because everyone can take a turn making their own customized pizza.

Note: "Pizzas are so universal that any farm-fresh produce can be used," Jeff Rossman says. "This pizza calls for fresh mozzarella cheese, but feel free to try Gruyère, aged Gouda, Parmesan, Asiago or any other cheese that tickles your fancy."

Makes 6 individual pizzas

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