BBQ Grilled Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto, Lemon/Herbed Chicken, Double Smoked Bacon, Manchego, and Buffalo Mozza

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When most people think of Canada Day cooking, they think barbeque. Burgers, dogs, steaks and the like are definite holiday go-to’s. And I agree, firing up the BBQ is about as Canadian as Canadian can be — particularly if it is a hibachi on a picnic table (with a cooler full of cold “pops”).

With this in mind, I’ve decided to offer up a BBQ recipe to help you celebrate our Nation’s Birthday. It is, however, a BBQ recipe with a twist — after all, I’ve already taught you the secrets of the perfect burger ( Farm to Table Blog here), and will be showcasing Brad Watt of Rare as he grills the ultimate steak (in my Peterborough This Week Column in two weeks time — look back here for a recap).

This grilled pizza has it all: light, fresh tasting seasonal garlic scape pesto (see here for pesto recipes that I posted last week), grilled meats (in this case chicken and grilled double smoked bacon), and good, quality cheeses (alas, the only non-local ingredients on this otherwise Peterborough ‘Za).

Some notes on suppliers: The garlic scapes came from the Gaelic Garlic, the chicken from Rhea-lly Emu-zing Ranch, the bacon came from my freezer (and I’ll be honest and say that I can’t remember what producer I got it from). I used some Merrylynd Flour in my dough. The cheeses came from Chasing the Cheese, a great little cheese shop on Water Street in Downtown Peterborough. You could definitely use local cheeses (Quinte Crest from 5th Town Cheese in Prince Edward County in place of Manchego and Empire Cheese Mozzarella from Campbelford), though you might not have the same saltiness/richness.

Pizza Dough for four 7-inch pizzas*
500 ml (or less) Garlic Scape Pesto
2 Grilled Lemon/Herbed Chicken Breasts prepared as kebabs (recipe to follow in the next day or so) and roughly chopped into half-inch morsels
12 slices of Double smoked bacon (cooked on the BBQ and roughly chopped)
250 grams aged Manchego Cheese (a hard, salty sheep cheese from Spain)
20 or so small Buffalo Mozzarella balls.

*use any standard pizza dough recipe (though replace half of the All Purpose Flour with Merrylynd Farm Wheat Flour). Krista will post her pizza dough tips here soon.

1. Preheat BBQ to around 350 degrees Celsius.
2. Flatten pizza dough out to roughly 1/8 inch thick and 7 inches wide.
3. Grill dough for roughly 4-5 minutes on oiled lower rack of the BBQ (lid closed) — the dough should be just slightly charred, but firm enough to lift.
4. Remove dough from BBQ (close lid) and add toppings — pesto first, then manchego, then meats, then mozza.
5. Return pizzas to BBQ and continue to grill until the cheese melts.
6. Serve hot.

While the dough starts out fairly thin, it rises quite quickly on the grill. Don't be tempted to put too thick a dough on your BBQ. After less than a minute, this dough has already doubled in thickness.
The dough, grilled on one side, is ready for the toppings: pesto, buffalo mozzarella, manchego, double smoked bacon, lemon/herbed chicken. I add the mozza last in order to have a gooeyness on top.
Loaded up and ready to go. The salty manchego is nestled with the pesto underneath the other toppings.
The finished pizza. You can see how the mozza has picked up the smokiness of the BBQ. You're not going to get that taste in a conventional oven.
Pizza number two. I was tempted to put mushrooms and vegetables on Krista's -- she's more of a veggie pizza kind of gal -- but resisted. I'm glad I did. As is, the pizzas presented a perfect match of flavours.