While researching a favorite food of Jon Bon Jovi’s, I found out he likes corn flakes. Not much I can do with that in an Italian food column. However, upon further research, I discovered that he not only loves Italian food, but Sushi and French food, and fine wine as well. All riiiiight…that, I can work with!
And since this week’s columns have been devoted to grilling, I thought grilled summer pizza would be a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest rockers. I’m a fan, can you tell?
Many years ago, while living in Orange, New Jersey as a blushing bride, my husband and I had neighbors downstairs, Tony and Lorraine Bongiovi. Lorraine, whom I was friends with, told me that Bon Jovi was one of Tony’s cousins’. She also educated me on the meaning of the family name: Bongiovi in Italian means good egg. How cool is that?
Jon Bon Jovi: rocker, family man, actor and philanthropist. Born March 2, 1962 to two Marines, hairdresser John Francis Bongiovi, Sr and former Playboy bunny Carol Sharkey in Perth Amboy, New Jersey he arose to stardom in the 1980’s with such hits as “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Livin’ On A Prayer,” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” In 1989 on his way to Las Vegas, this Italian-American superstar married Dorothea Rose Hurley, his high school sweetheart. They now have four children: Stephanie Rose, Jesse James Louis, Jacob Hurley, and Romeo Jon. Bon Jovi maintains a strong family foundation and keeps two residences, one in Manhattan and the other in Middletown, NJ. On his Middletown property, he built a British-style pub and christened it “Shoe Inn;” he hung a horse shoe in it saying he feels he’s been blessed. He has, and so have his fans.
Here’s to you Jon….
Grilled Summer Pizza
• 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
• 1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese or fresh
• 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves
1. Prepare medium-hot fire on one half of charcoal grill or preheat one side of gas grill to high, leaving other side unlit (if gas grill has only one burner, preheat to high and lower heat to cook second side.)
2. Remove core from tomatoes; cut in half crosswise and gently squeeze out as many seeds and juice as will come out easily. Cut into thin slices.
3. Divide pizza dough into four equal balls; on floured work surface, roll/stretch each ball out into approximate 6-inch circle. Bring dough and toppings to grill.
4. Place two dough circles on heated side of grill; when dough is puffed and browned on underside, about 2 minutes, turn over with tongs and cook until second side is lightly colored, about 1 minute longer.
5. Remove crusts from grill. Drizzle each with some of oil. Cover with half of tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Top with half of cheese and scatter half of thyme leaves on top. Return to unheated side of grill (or reduce heat on one-burner gas grill to very low). Cover grill and cook pizzas until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Slide pizzas back over heat or increase heat if crust needs additional crisping on bottom.
6. Use tongs to slide pizzas onto serving plate or cutting board. Repeat with remaining dough circles and toppings.
As I’ve been associating my columns with a local eateries, and places where you can buy great ingredients, today’s column is no different. I’ve found the best, I mean the very best darn pizza outside of the Tri-state area (NY, NJ, and CT) is Anthony’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant. They are conveniently located in the Gateway Crossings Plaza, next to Publix.
Anthony’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant
851 South State Road 434 – Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714