This weekend marks the official launch of grilling and que’ing season. As the weekend unwinds there will be bags of briquettes and tanks of fuel emptied. While you may be tempted to start with the sausage, foot long dogs and burgers I encourage you as you walk to that grill in that backyard, patio, fire escape or city park with a copy of Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas. This collection of sweet and savory pizzas, crispy piadinas (flat bread sandwiches) and salads goes beyond the expected.
Craig Priebe, a man "obsessed with grilled pizza", is an executive chef at Henry Crown & Company and his co-writer Dianne Jacob have pulled together 75 recipes that will inspire, What’s great about this book , aside from all the photos and compact size) is that there are shortcuts. Don’t have access to outdoor grill? There is info and images of the indoor grill options. Don’t want to make dough from scratch? Go to Trader Joe’s they make an excellent pizza dough. There’s tips all through the 192-pages.
Priebe gives us such creativity in each recipe: the Gamberian (Sautéed shrimp with pesto and tomato) the pie awarded Best International Pizza of the Year, the Asparago (Asparagus with pesto, pine nuts, and Brie), Thai Pong Gari (curried chicken with peanut sauce and salad) and the San Franciscan (crab with orange and beet salad. New to me are piadinas (pee-yah-DEEN-ahs), a grilled flat bread. Italians have an expression, "Ogni donna fa la piadina a modo suo." Every woman makes Piadina in her own special way." Here we have a Piadina Dolce e Salato (Soppressata with Parmesan crisps and honey), the PAT Piadina (pancetta, argula and tomato) and a classic combination–Piadina Neapolitan (grilled cheese with tomato and basil) or Piadina Rosti (roasted pears, mascarpone, and honey). There’s also a dessert section that includes variations on churros, apple tarts and banana split.
Many of the savory pizzas and piadinas start with Herbed Grill Oil which is simply made by combining ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 small minced clove garlic, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried thyme and ½ teaspoon dried basil. After mixing well, refrigerate. What’s great about this book is the sense of calm and ease that permeates this book. Did the oil solidify? Hey, "take it out a few minutes early or microwave it at 5-second intervals until it starts to liquefy." This oil would be a great one just to have around for brushing on bread before grilling and then topping with some chopped heirloom tomatoes.
Salads are included to round out a complete meal. Curried Carrot Raisin salad (carrot, jicama and apple in curry dressing) and a new twist to a classic the Grapefruit Caesar. To serve up these salads as a main course there is a recipe included for what is called The Bakery Bowl, which is simply a crispy pizza crust that’s been baked over a bowl. Why haven’t we seen this idea sooner!
So much punch in this little cookbook that will keep you grilling long after summer is gone.
Craig Priebe will be at Macy’s San Francisco on June 25 at 6pm for a demonstration and signing.