By Rebecca Rockefeller
Light Up Your Grill or Fire Pit for a Pizza Party Less Plastic
Inspired by some unseasonably hot May weather last weekend, we decided on an impromptu family dinner party. Our friends Pete and Liesl volunteered their backyard fire pit and I volunteered to experiment on everyone by adapting a dish I’d just seen in Sunset Magazine, Asparagus Insalata Piadine from chef Michael Chiarello, to the ingredients we had in our collective gardens. The kids dubbed our version “Grilled Salad Pizza.”
I didn’t have time for a yeasted dough with a long rise, so I doubled this pizza crust recipe from King Arthur Flour and brought it in a large oiled stainless steel bowl, covered with a couple of our DIY Reusable Food Wraps. I set it a few feet away from the fire pit to rise while the flames burned down to a bed of hot coals.
Since we didn’t have any asparagus growing, Liesl picked an assortment of broccoli rabe, kale, chard, and other dark leafy greens from her winter garden and tossed those with some of her homemade salad dressing.
I brought along a jar of fresh pesto that I created with the French sorrel and miner’s lettuce growing in my own winter garden, and Liesl found a chunk of parmesan in her fridge (our local bakery also sells cheese, and they’re happy to send it home wrapped in cloth or waxed paper instead of plastic, provided we bring that in ourselves).
When the coals were hot, we rolled out small blobs of the risen pizza crust dough to make kid friendly sized piadine, brushing each with olive oil after being placed by hand on the hot grill. They took just a couple of minutes to cook on each side, bubbling up and browning nicely.
We slathered each cooked piadine with the fresh sorrel pesto, then topped that with a handful of the dressed raw greens and some grated Parmesan before folding the flatbread, taco-style, and slicing each in half for easier eating. OK, the kids ended up eating most of their grilled bread plain, with their salad on the side, but we all agreed that it was a delicious experiment in plastic-free grilled food. We’re looking forward to repeating this with new seasonal vegetables as our growing season progresses. The combination of hot, chewy flatbread, creamy pesto and Parmesan, and barely wilted, still crispy greens was lovely, enjoyed equally by the omnivores and vegetarians in our party.
Looking for other Food Less Plastic ideas? Check out our Trash Backwards app for links to recipes and practical ways to turn your kitchen and your food plastic-free, zero waste, and frugal. If you need a grill or fire pit to cook on, we’ve got ideas for those, too.