Mark Bittman's Memorial Day Grilling Tips
From How to Cook Everything
by Mark Bittman (Macmillan, 1998)



Grilled Pizza Bianca

  • 12 to 16 ounces pizza dough
  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
  • Coarse kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon or more roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 recipe for Basic Pizza Dough (see recipe below)

    Knead pizza dough lightly, form it into a ball, and divide it into four equal pieces; roll each piece into a round ball. Place each ball on lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little more flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.

    Start a medium-hot charcoal or wood fire, or preheat a gas grill to the maximum. Roll or lightly press each dough ball into a flat round, lightly flouring the work surface and the dough as necessary (do not use more flour than you need to). Let the rounds sit for a few minutes; this will relax the dough and make it easier to roll out. Then roll or pat out the dough, as thinly as you like, turning occasionally and sprinkling the top with flour as necessary.

    Slide the pizza directly onto the grill or brush the top with oil and flip it onto the grill, oiled side down. In either case, brush the top side with oil. The pizza will be soft at first, but will quickly firm up. Move it around the grill as necessary to avoid burning the bottom, and cook until brown grill marks appear, from 1 to 6 minutes depending on your grill heat. Turn with a spatula or tongs, then brush again with oil. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary leaves and garnish, if desired, with a sprig of rosemary. Grill until the bottom is crisp and brown, 1 to 6 minutes depending on grill heat.

    Basic Pizza Dough
  • 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 3 cups (about 14 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

    Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.

    Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.)

    Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.

    Proceed with any pizza recipe below, or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

    To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible[md]just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about 10 minutes. Proceed as above.

    To make this dough with a standing mixer: The machine must be fairly powerful or it will stall. Combine half the flour with the salt, yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with the machine's paddle. With the machine on slow speed, add flour a little at a time, until the mixture has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to the dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as possible, then proceed as above.

    Grilled Fruit with Ginger Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced ginger
  • 2 not overly ripe bananas
  • 2 apples, pears, carambolas, or other fairly firm fruit
  • 1 small pineapple
  • 1 ripe but not-too-soft papaya

    Combine the first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and strain. (Refrigerate if you're not using this right away; it'll keep for at least 1 week.)

    Do not peel the bananas; cut them into 2-inch-long chunks and make a small slit in the peel to facilitate peeling at the table. Cut the apples, pears, or carambolas into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Peel and core the pineapple; cut it into 2-inch chunks. Peel the papaya, cut it in half, discard the seeds, and cut it into 2-inch chunks.

    Put the fruit on six skewers and brush it lightly with the ginger syrup. Grill over fairly high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Brush again with the ginger syrup and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Grilled Butterflied Lamb with Herbs
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) butterflied leg of lamb
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or oregano or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (use lavender if you have it)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges

    Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler; the fire should be quite hot, and the rack should be at least 4 inches from the heat source. (Delay this step until you're just about ready to cook if you choose to marinate the meat.) Trim the lamb of any excess fat. Mix together the garlic, thyme, rosemary, lavender, salt, and pepper; rub this mixture well into the lamb, making sure to get some into all the crevices. If you have the time, let the lamb sit, for an hour or more (refrigerate if it will be much longer). If you don't have the time, don't worry about it.

    Grill or broil the meat until it is nicely browned, even a little charred, on both sides, about 20 to 30 minutes, and the internal temperature at the thickest part is about 125dgF; this will give you some lamb that is quite rare, as well as some that is nearly well done. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly, as you would a thick steak. Garnish and serve, with lemon wedges.