Grilled Pizza with Tomato-Balsamic Sauce, Chicken & Eggplant

If you long for a wood-burning pizza oven at home, you’ll be glad to know you already have one. It’s out there in your back yard, and it’s better known as your outdoor grill.

Grilled pizza makes a quick weeknight meal, it keeps you out of the kitchen in summer’s heat, and it’s a great dish to serve at parties. Featured recipe: Grilled Pizza with Tomato-Balsamic Sauce, Chicken & Eggplant.


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick and brushed with olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino romano or Parmigiano-reggiano
  • for the Sauce
  • 8 large plum tomatoes, halved and oiled
  • 1 large onion, halved and oiled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbs. balsamic or red-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Pizza dough refrigerated for at least 8 hours
  • cornmeal or flour, for dusting the peel
  • Grill the tomatoes and onion for the sauce and the toppings for the pizzas, as well as the dough, to get layer upon layer of smoky flavor.


1- Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a nonaluminum dish. Add the pounded chicken and marinate in the refrig- erator for at least 2 hours but not more than 6 hours.

2- Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Grill the chicken until no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes total.

3- Let cool slightly before cutting or tearing into shreds. Season the oiled eggplant slices with salt and pepper and grill until soft and slightly charred, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Keep the chicken and eggplant at room temperature.

Make the Sauce

1- Cook the tomatoes and onion on the hot grill until softened and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and onion, put them in a medium bowl, and mix in the garlic, rosemary, vinegar, and olive oil to make a chunky sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2- For a gas grill, turn one burner on high and the other (or others) as low as possible. For charcoal, get the coals white-hot, and then brush them into a ring around the perimeter of the grill.

3- Portion the dough into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size pizza you want. Roll them into ovals or rounds, according to the shape of your grill. You’ll cook the pizzas one at a time.

4- Fold 1 piece of the dough in half, lift it, slap it on the cool part of the grill, and unfold it so the whole crust is on the cool part. (You don’t need to grease the grates.) Cover the grill, wait about 3 minutes, then lift the lid.

5- The dough should be bubbling on top. Gingerly lift the edge with a spatula to look for light-brown grill marks, but not too much browning.

6- If the bottom looks right, slide the dough onto a peel (or the back of a baking sheet) with two spatulas. Close the grill lid to preserve the heat.

7- Dust a second peel (or the back of another baking sheet) lightly with corn- meal or flour. Invert the dough onto this peel so the raw side is down.

8- Ladle on some of the sauce, spread it around, then add some of the eggplant and chicken and a sprinkling of the cheese.

9- With the peel, slide the pizza back onto the cool zone of the grill and close the lid. Cook the pizza for about 10 minutes, again until the bottom shows nice grill marks and is slightly crisp but not burned.

10- Slide the finished pizza off the grill, cut it into manageable slices, and eat. Grill the remaining pizzas in the same way.


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