Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza by Chef John Ash

Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza by Chef John AshGrilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza
Provided to the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition by Chef John Ash
Ingredients for Dough

  • 1 envelope (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons table salt (or 3 teaspoons kosher salt)
  • ½ cup finely-ground corn meal or whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 – 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 1 pound peeled and deveined Gulf shrimp (21 – 25, depending on size)
  • Prepared pizza dough divided into six portions
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
  • 2 cups loosely packed shredded Sonoma Jack cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
  • 3 cups canned and crushed tomatoes in puree, preferably with basil
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
  • Big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for each pizza
  1. Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza by Chef John AshSlice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  Blanc for 1 minute in simmering salted water.  Drain and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain again and set aside.  The shrimp will be just barely cooked at this point.
  2. Prepare a two-level (one side cooler than the other) charcoal fire, setting the grill rack 4 inches or so above the coals.  Alternately, you can use a gas grill with one side hotter than the other. With a lightly floured work surface and rolling pin, roll the dough portion into 10 inch or so free-form circles as thinly as you can, about ¼-inch thick.  Don’t worry about the shape, as even thickness is the goal. Place them on a sheet pan divided by parchment or waxed paper.
  3. When the coals are evenly lit and medium hot, brush the dough with olive oil and place it oiled side down onto the hot part of the grill.  Within a minute or so the dough will puff and bubble, the underside will stiffen and grill marks will appear.
  4. Using tongs or a spatula check to see that it is not burning.  If so, move it to the cooler part of the grill.  Flip the crust over, onto the cooler part of the grill and quickly brush the grilled surface lightly with olive oil.  Spread a thin layer of the tomatoes on the dough and then quickly top with a bit of each of the cheeses, shrimp and basil.  Remember that you don’t need or want to cover the entire surface of the pizza.
  5. Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza by Chef John AshImmediately put the hood down and cook for another minute or two or until the cheeses are melted.  Move pizza to a cutting board and cut into wedges and serve immediately. Cook remaining pizzas in the same manner.

Chef’s note:  When you have topped the pizzas if after a couple of minutes the cheese has not melted and bubbling a bit, either the coals were not hot enough or you have used too much cheese and toppings.  A longer time on the grill will only dry out the pizza and toughen it.  The ideal crust should be both chewy and crisp.  This is why a good 2-level fire is so important.

  1. To make the pizza dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook stir the yeast into the warm water with sugar.  After 5 minutes it should begin to bubble, then stir in the salt, corn meal and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Add the flour, stirring at low speed until the dough forms a rough ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.  You may need to add a little flour or water here.  Let the dough rest in the bowl for 15 minutes.  It should be fairly soft.
  2. Remove from the bowl and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Gently round each piece into a ball and brush or rub with a little olive oil.  Place each into a zippered plastic storage bag and drizzle remaining olive oil (1 teaspoon or so) over each ball and seal the bags closed.  Let the balls sit for at least 30 minutes.  You can also refrigerate them overnight at this point and roll out and make pizzas the next day.  Sitting overnight actually gives you a better flavor in the dough.
  3. Grilled Gulf Shrimp Pizza by Chef John AshIf you’ve refrigerated them, plan to take them out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you plan to make the pizzas.  Alternately you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months.  Again, plan to let the dough thaw and come to room temperature before using.

Makes six 10-inch pizzas

About Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition
The Coalition provides a framework for the seafood community to coordinate marketing efforts among the Gulf States with emphasis on working with tourism boards, restaurants, retailers and chefs.  The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc. is coordinating the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition through funding provided by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481).  For more information, please visit and follow the Coalition on Facebook at Gulf Coast Seafood and Twitter at @eatgulfseafood.

About Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation, Inc.
The Foundation is a private, regional nonprofit research organization with a general membership and Board of Trustees representing a wide spectrum of the commercial fishing industry throughout the southeast U.S.   Through the Foundation, the commercial seafood and fishing industry can collectively identify industry needs, and address those needs through appropriate research and other activities.  Representing the nine-state region from Virginia to Texas, the Foundation has sponsored more than 600 fisheries related research projects. For more information, please visit