BLTs with Basil Aioli and Five-Minute Grilled Flatbread

BLT sandwich on quick grilled flatbread

I love the Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, and one of my all-time favorite pieces from his book “It Must Have Been Something I Ate” is the one about his search for perfect pizza, which, in true Steingartian fashion sends him on a mission to reproduce the flavor and taste of a true Neapolitan-style pizza crust at home.

Steingarten estimates that in order to achieve blistered, dense and delicious crusts a person needs to simulate the heat of a true wood-fired oven that can achieve extremely hot temperatures, somewhere in the range between 650 and 950 degrees, which proves to be just about impossible to accomplish unless you happen to have a heavy-duty commercial oven. His most successful attempt turns out to be firing up a Weber charcoal grill and placing a pizza stone directly on the rack; when the charcoal is arranged properly (more toward the sides of the stone than piled right under it) your everyday barbecue grill is transformed into a little pizza oven. I tried this method and it seems to work pretty well.

After browsing through a new cookbook called Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas yesterday and getting hungry, I made a simple unleavened dough and lit the grill. I actually wanted to make hot BLT sandwiches for dinner, and thought the bread would be an interesting twist. And since it was so spur of the moment, the dough recipe was a good choice since it doesn’t require yeast or rising time. It doesn’t have the fermented flavor that a good yeasted pizza or flatbread has, but for a quick, interesting meal it was satisfying and fun to make.

This method of cooking on the grill would work with any dough you have, even prepared pizza dough from the bakery or grocery store. I’ve also used this very easy recipe for 5-minute pizza dough from Sara Moulton with excellent results.

BLT’s with Basil Aioli on Grilled Flatbread

Prepared pizza dough or Piadina dough (recipe follows)
Basil Aioli (recipe follows)
Fresh arugula or other greens
Cooked bacon
Sliced ripe tomatoes

Light your charcoal or gas grill to medium-high, arranging coals around edges of the grill once they are hot and glowing. (use long tongs and a heavy-duty oven mitts for this). Place a pizza stone on the rack and heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.

Cut the dough into 3-inch pieces and roll them out on a floured surface into roughly 6-inch diameter rounds.

Place the dough on the stone and cook until both sides are browned and blistered, about 2 minutes per side.

Remove from the stone and spread each with some Basil Aioli. Top with greens, bacon and tomatoes. Fold over loosely and eat like a sandwich.

Basil Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise, regular or reduced fat ( I prefer Hellmann’s)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to one day.

Piadina Dough (Instant Unleavened Pizza Dough)
Adapted from Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas by Craig W. Priebe

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Process just until the dough comes together, about 15 pulses. Dump the dough on to a floured surface and knead until soft and springy. Cover with plastic wrap to rest for about 15 minutes.

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Proud Italian Cook said...

Karen, Yummm, I would love to take a bite of this! I grill pizza dough all the time, its thin and crispy and you don't have to heat up the kitchen and it's super quick!

Happy cook said...

Wow that looks so delicious .

Liza said...

oh, i love this bread! maybe I will make it tonight.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Karen, I too love Jeffrey! Although I am puzzled, sometimes, at his manner as a judge on Iron Chef! - seems cranky! "The Man Who Ate Everything" is one of my favorite food books of all time.
Great summeretime sandwich and completely doable!

Emiline said...

How creative! I love it!

Prudy said...

I'd just love this one. I'm hoping I won't have to use the grill soon. My husband is building me a pizza oven in the back yard. It's taking quite a while...

Deborah Dowd said...

There is nothing better than a BLT in the summer! Thanks for this unique twist!

Lisa said...

Mmmm.... I just love a good BLT!

Leah said...

What a great idea to use an unleavened dough; yeast always freaks me out a little so this recipe would be a great option for me! And I never thought to use my pizza stone on the grill before, that's such a smart idea. I'll try this one soon!

Karen said...

Proud Italian Cook, isn't it good? I'm craving a slice right now.

Thanks, Happy Cook.

Liza, I know you will make it sometime...maybe on your new deck!

Hi Catherine! I know, he is the very definition of cranky, but I admire his persistence.

Cheers, Emiline.

Prudy, aren't you the lucky dog?
I can't wait to hear all about your oven adventures.

I agree,Deborah, thanks!

Lisa, I didn't always appreciate BLTs, but that was when they were made with hard, pink tomatoes and were served on Wonder bread.

Leah, this would be a perfect recipe to try - pretty foolproof. You might just get hooked on dough.

Kristen said...

What a fantastic summertime recipe! Thanks for sharing it.