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Grilled pizza is simple, hearty and fresh

By J.M. Hirsch
AP Food Editor
This simple, intensely flavored dish is a cross between bruschetta and pizza. And for summer ease, it’s all done on the grill.
The most time-consuming part of doing pizza at home is the dough. Even if you buy it already made, the dough still has to come up to room temperature before you can use it.
The easier, faster and heartier approach is to use thick-cut slabs of bread.
The bread toasts nicely, giving a wonderful crunch to the pizza. But because it is cut so thick, the insides remain pleasantly chewy.
For a flavorful sauce, this recipe tops the bread with a blend of prepared pesto and tomato paste, but any sauce could be used. Also try prepared tapenade (a spread made from ground olives, herbs and oil).
Fresh mozzarella is wonderful because it has a light, creamy taste and melts so well. Any cheese can be substituted, though harder cheeses will take longer to melt.
Add other toppings as desired, but because the pizza is grilled only briefly, all toppings should be fully cooked before going on the pizza.Grilled Boule Pizza with Tomato Pesto
Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 2
1/4 C. prepared pesto
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 large slices hearty sourdough boule or other rustic bread, each about 1 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
12-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
1/4 C. sliced black olives
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Heat a grill to high.
In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto and tomato paste.
Drizzle both slices of bread on both sides with olive oil. Grill the bread until lightly toasted on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the bread from the grill.
Spread half of the pesto mixture over the toasted side of each slice of bread.
Top the pesto with tomato slices, then mozzarella slices and black olives. Season with pepper, then return the assembled pizzas to the grill. Cover, reduce heat to low and grill until the bottoms are toasted and the cheese has melted, about 8 minutes.
Sprinkle the pizzas with the basil.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 996 calories; 470 calories from fat; 52 g fat (23 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 119 mg cholesterol; 72 g carbohydrate; 61 g protein; 7 g fiber; 2,081 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch can be e-mailed at jhirsch@ap.org.

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