Cook | Pizza acquires exotic accent with lamb, tahini

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How did a nice Jewish girl with roots in Iraq, India and China become an expert on grilling pizzas? Dianne Jacob did it by making every one of more than 75 recipes in “Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas,” her cookbook with Craig Priebe.

Jacob’s family came from Iraq to India before settling in Shanghai. Her parents immigrated after World War II. Jacob now lives in Oakland.

“Grilled pizza isn’t about being perfect; it’s rustic,” she said. “You don’t need a pizza stone or special equipment.”

The dough recipe makes two crusts. Double the lamb recipe or refrigerate or freeze the remaining dough. The recipes are adapted from “Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas.”


Lamb and Tahini Pizza

Makes 12-inch pizza

12-inch round of Dough (see recipe)

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. tahini, divided

1 cup Tomato Sauce (see recipe)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

12 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

Spiced Lamb (see recipe)

1 Tbs. pomegranate molasses

Preheat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high (about 400 degrees). Using tongs, transfer rolled-out crust from back of cookie sheet to grill. Check underside once dough firms. It should be browned, with grill marks; char (about 3 minutes). Return crust, grilled-side up, to back side of cookie sheet. Brush grilled side with oil. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. tahini. Drop spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Scatter onions, garlic, olives and spiced lamb. Drizzle remaining tahini and pomegranate molasses. Reconfigure grill for indirect heat. Put pizza on side of grill without coals or flames. Grill for 5-8 minutes, moving around hot spots as necessary. Slide onto cutting board. Cut and serve.


Grilled Crust Dough

Makes two 12-inch crusts

1 packet dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1/2 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 Tbs. cornmeal

2 Tbs. plus 1/4 tsp. olive oil

cornmeal for sprinkling

Add yeast and sugar to warm water. Stir until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes). Mix flours, kosher salt and 2 Tbs. cornmeal in a large bowl. Stir in yeasted water and 2 Tbs. olive oil. Mix well. Lightly flour work surface. Form a ball of dough. Knead for 8 minutes until smooth. Add 1/4 tsp. olive oil to a medium bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in draft-free, warm place 2 hours until doubled in size. Chill 1 hour or overnight.

Punch down dough. Flour work surface. Flatten dough to 1-inch thick. Cut in half. Sprinkle flour on one piece. Roll out to a rough circle 12 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Flip a cookie sheet so bottom is up. Sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Transfer rolled out dough to back side of cookie sheet. Grill as directed in recipe.

Wrap and refrigerate remaining dough (for up to 3 days) or freeze for future use.


Tomato Sauce

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

3/4 lb. fresh tomatoes, diced

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 heaping tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients. Add more paste if watery. Chill 1 hour.


Spiced Lamb

8 oz. ground lamb

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. each dried thyme, salt, black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Brown ground lamb. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].