Charlie's Wood-Grilled Tailgate Pizza
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.