This pizza was the result of the telephone recipe game.
Betsy and I have two friends (Hi Sean and Maeve) who recently moved from Berkeley. They showed up to a pizza party a few weeks ago with some odd pizza fixings including zucchini, corn, and cilantro. Most strangely, their planned pizza seemed to be missing a sauce.
When I mentioned this, they immediately replied, “There’s no sauce on this pizza, DUDE.” Like I was supposed to know. It’s possible that they didn’t say it exactly like that (or at all) but that’s how I remember it.
Anyway, it turns out that they were trying to mimic a pizza from The Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley.
The pizza was so delicious that I thought I would try to duplicate the recipe.
So, basically, I’m trying to make a pizza inspired by a pie that I’ve never eaten from a place I’ve never been to.
That’s called the telephone recipe game.
1) In a small bowl, combine yeast, water and 1 tsp sugar. Let sit for five minutes.
2)In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, salt and remaining sugar. Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture and olive oil.
3) Stir using the paddle attachment or a spoon until the dough just comes together, then knead, either by hand or in a stand mixer fixed with the dough hook, for about 5 minutes (3-4 minutes if using stand mixer).
4) Add remaining flour in 1 tbsp increments just until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl or is no longer sticky.
5) Shape dough into two dough balls and place on a lightly greased sheet. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
6) Working with one dough piece at a time, roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Dust the dough with flour to make sure it doesn't stick as you work with it. Store the dough on a baking sheet until needed.
1) Dice toppings making sure to slice zucchini and red onion very thinly.
2) For corn, brush lightly with oil and grill for 10-15 minutes over high heat until corn is nicely charred. You can also broil it on high heat, turning every 2-3 minutes, until charred. Let cool and then cut corn off of cob.
3) Combine corn, red onion, and zucchini in a bowl with a small handful of fresh cilantro. Toss with red pepper flakes, and juice from half a lime. Season with salt and pepper.
4) PReheat grill to HIGH heat and make sure it's very clean. Take one of your rolled out doughs and gently place it directly on grill grates. Grill for 90 seconds.
5) Flip dough and rub with two tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with mashed garlic. Then top with shredded mozzarella and half of the corn toppings.
6) Cover grill and let cook for another 5-6 minutes.
7) Remove pizza with a large spatula and sprinkle with lime juice. Slice and serve immediately! You can repeat with the second pizza dough.
I like this pizza this time of year because it uses fresh corn. The thin-sliced zucchini is, I think, a departure from the original, but is another great ingredient this time of year. Also, I kind of punted on getting chile pasillas and just used crushed red pepper flakes.
Anytime I’m using fresh corn for a topping like this, you can bet that I want to get a nice char on it. I grilled my corn over high heat for about 15 minutes to get this level of char but you could also do it in the broiler under high heat.
You need about an ear of corn per pizza so go ahead and slice off the kernels once they are cool enough to handle. It’s never bad to have extra grilled corn because you can make things like a charred corn omelet the next day!
Besides the corn, just make sure to slice the zucchini and red onion as thin as possible. I didn’t cook them before adding them to the pizza so if they are too thick they will stay basically raw which isn’t great.
Slicing them thin though will allow them to cook slightly but still be a bit on the crunchy side.
Toss together with cilantro, red pepper, salt and pepper, and fresh squeezed lime juice and your pizza topping is ready!
I’ve never seen a pizza dough recipe that you can’t toss on a grill and you can even used store-bought crust or dough if you are in a rush.
For this version, I tried a new whole wheat pizza dough recipe that I’ve had my eye on for a few weeks. It worked fantastically and was super-easy to pull together. I didn’t even let it sit overnight or anything like I normally would with pizza dough.
To make it, it helps to have a stand mixer, but you can definitely do it by hand also.
To start the dough, just add the yeast, a pinch of sugar, and water to a bowl and stir together. Let it sit until the yeast is bubbling, about five minutes. Then stir in the other ingredients and either stir the dough with a large spoon until it comes together or mix the dough on medium with the dough hook of your stand mixer.
You may not need all the flour that the recipe calls for so start with two cups and add more if you dough is sticky.
Once you knead the dough (by hand or with a mixer) for 5-6 minutes, it should be nice and smooth and very pliable. Then just split the dough into two balls, rub them with a bit of oil, and place them on a baking sheet lightly covered.
Let them rise for about an hour and then you can roll them out! For my version, I went with the large rectangle pizza.
Grilling the Pizza
Grilling pizza isn’t hard and is actually about as close as most people can get to a super-hot brick oven pizza that real pizza joints use.
Just make sure your grill is preheated to high heat and make sure your grill grates are really clean.
Then just toss the dough right on the grates!
Let it cook for 90 seconds and then give it a flip.
This is also an excellent way to identify hot spots on your grill as you can see in the below photo!
Once you flip the dough, drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle with mashed garlic.
Top with a good amount of shredded mozzarella cheese and half of your corn topping mixture (the recipe is enough for two pizzas).
Cover the grill at this point and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes. No peeking!
Once it’s done, slide it off the grill using a sturdy spatula and sprinkle some extra fresh lime juice on the pizza. The lime juice really makes all the flavors pop.
Then slice it and serve it!
If I have any Berkeley readers that have actually had this pizza from its original source, I’m sure you can tell me the many ways in which I screwed it up.
I don’t exactly care though.
Sometimes the telephone game can still result in a pretty amazing pizza.