When Southern California recently went completely dark due to a huge power outage that affected nearly 5 million residents, I found myself in a conundrum. What could I make for dinner that wouldn’t require electricity? The answer I came up with was a tasty one: homemade pizza on the barbecue. Here is a recipe for an old Neapolitan treat: Pizza Margherita. This is my friend Saralisa’s version.
Saralisa’s Pizza Margherita
- 1 package of pizza dough
- two tablespoons of cornmeal
- three tablespoons of flour
- two to three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- two large tomatoes
- 1 package of buffalo mozzarella
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
You can certainly make your own pizza dough, but I prefer to purchase it already made. It can be found at most pizza parlors, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for less than $3 dollars. Let the dough defrost in its package until it has expanded and fills the entire bag. This is the wonder of yeast at work.
- Preheat your barbecue to 500°. You can also place this in your oven (given your power is still on!) and bake it at the same temperature as an alternative.
- Place flour on your work surface, and with a rolling pin, slowly role the dough into the shape you prefer — either a traditional circle or a rectangle. It is worth investing in a pizza stone (if you make this on the barbecue, make sure that the stone you buy can withstand the heat). You can find them at any specialty cooking store. I bought mine at Sur la Table. They range in cost from $40 to $60, which isn’t cheap. But remember, they can be used to cook pastries, vegetables or chicken as well. In other words, it is a piece of crockery you will use for years.
- Spread the cornmeal evenly across the stone. This will keep your cooked pizza from sticking. Lay the dough evenly across the stone.
- Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the dough in the extra virgin olive oil. Cut the tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella in thin slices and place neatly on the dough. Add the fresh basil leaves.
- Add kosher salt, black pepper and the oregano to season.
- Cook your pizza until it is golden colored and the cheese has melted. This should be approximately 15 minutes. When the pizza is finished it will resemble the colors of the Italian flag, red, white and green!
Serve your Pizza Margherita with a bold red wine like a Chianti or Zinfandel.