Blistered corn, asparagus & pesto pizza

This is Bob Blumer's house pizza, and it's easy to see why he loves it so much. It's all about summer flavours of corn, asparagus, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes.


This is Bob Blumer’s house pizza. The pesto base, sun-dried tomatoes, and Brie smack of an ’80s hit parade. But when they share the stage with the blistered corn and grilled asparagus, they create an unmistakably modern taste that’s nothing short of addictive.

Blistered corn, asparagus & pesto pizza
Serves 2-4

  • 2 ears corn, husks removed
  • 12 asparagus spears, woody bottoms discarded
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
  • pizza_grill_cover150

  • 1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 12 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 4 strips each
  • 6 ounces Brie, rind removed if preferred, cut into ¼-inch-thick strips, then cut into 1-inch squares
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill per the master instructions for gas or charcoal (see below).

Brush the corn and asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt, then place them on the cooking grate directly over the heat and grill, turning occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool. To remove the kernels, stand the corn upright. Grip the top of the cob and slide your sharpest knife straight down between the cob and kernels. Cut the asparagus tips off, then cut the remaining stalks into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Reserve both for topping.

Roll out and shape the dough, then grill the first side of the crust per the master instructions. Use tongs to transfer it from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side.

Spread the entire surface with the pesto. Sprinkle with the corn, asparagus, and tomatoes. Top with the cheese.

Finish grilling the pizza per the master instructions.

Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the red pepper, and season with salt and black pepper. Slice and serve immediately.

Master Instructions: The Gas Grill Method

Preheat the grill by setting all the burners on high. After lighting, close the lid and leave on high for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of all the burners to medium.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch, organically shaped piece of dough—round, square, or rectangular—1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thick (err on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then check the crust and, if necessary, continue grilling a few more minutes until the bottom is well marked and nicely browned.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner(s) if you have a three- or four-burner grill. For a two-burner grill, turn off one burner. Set the pizza back on the grate over indirect heat (the unlit section) and grill, with the lid down, until the bottom is well browned and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes. For two-burner grills, rotate the pizza halfway through the cooking time.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

Master Instructions: The Charcoal Grill Method 

Build a fire by lighting 50 to 60 charcoal briquettes in either a chimney starter or in a pyramid-shaped mound on the bottom grate of your grill. Once the briquettes have become gray-ashed (20 to 30 minutes), move them all to one side of the grill.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch by 6-inch, organically shaped piece of dough—a rectangle—1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thick (err on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat—over the side without briquettes—on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then rotate the crust 180 degrees and continue grilling until the bottom is well marked and evenly browned, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Set the pizza back on the grate over the side without briquettes and grill, with the lid down, for 4 to 5 minutes. Rotate the pizza 180 degrees and continue to grill with the lid down until the bottom is well browned and cheese is melted, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

Excerpted from Pizza on the Grill, Expended by Elizabeth Karmel & Bob Blumer (The Taunton Press). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer.

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