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Charlie's Wood-Grilled Tailgate Pizza

  • SERVINGS: MAKES TWO 15-INCH PIZZAS

Chef Charlie Palmer, 6-foot-4-inches tall, grew up on a farm in upstate New York and was a bruising high school linebacker. Although he had offers to play college ball, he enrolled in cooking school instead. While he has earned nationwide fame at Manhattan's swank Aureole, he has remained a die-hard New York Giants fan. he once declared—perhaps in jest—that if anyone in his kitchen openly rooted for the Jets, he'd fire that person on the spot.

As Palmer considered what to prepare for the tailgate, Peter Kaminsky reminded him of another of John Madden's rules: always plan on one dish that you can grill quickly while the coals are heating up. "You've got to give your friends something to eat right away," Madden counseled sagely, "or they hang around the grill and rush everything else." Heeding this advice, Palmer dreamed up a pizza with 3 kinds of cheese, artichoke hearts, wild mushrooms and prosciutto.

For ease in transporting and for grilling speed, Palmer bakes his crusts at home and brings them to the picnic in the pizza pans.

Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup semolina flour
  3. Two 1/4 -ounce packages of active dry yeast
  4. Salt
  5. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  6. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced 1/2 inch thick
  9. Freshly ground pepper
  10. Two 6.5-ounce jars of oil-packed artichoke hearts, drained
  11. 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
  12. 1/2 pound thinly sliced Fontina
  13. 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked mozzarella
  14. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, yeast and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the honey, then stir the liquid into the dry ingredients. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to a 15-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a large pizza pan or baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Bake the dough for about 6 minutes, or until just dry and set.
  3. Light a grill or leave the oven on. On a small baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer. Set the baking sheet on the grill, cover with the lid and cook the mushrooms over a hot fire, or roast in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until softened.
  4. Top the pizza crusts with the mushrooms, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, Fontina, mozzarella and Parmesan. Slide 1 pizza onto the grill and cook over a medium hot fire, or bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, rotating the pizza as necessary, until the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned and crisp. Using 2 large spatulas, return the pizza to the pizza pan, cut into wedges and serve at once while you cook the second pizza.
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