Pizza with Wild Boletus Mushrooms and Virginia Ham

When we filmed America’s Best Chefs Cook with Jeremiah Tower in Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington, I could not keep my hands off the local boletus mushrooms and Virginia ham from down the road in Culpepper, Virginia. If you don’t have fresh boletus, use portobello from the supermarket prepared the same way, cooking them 10 minutes longer in the oven before putting them on the pizza. I garnished this pizza with fresh thyme flowers, but that was in the spring.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, very coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large fresh boletus mushrooms (porcini or cèpes)
  • 1 recipe Pizza Dough
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices Virginia ham or prosciutto, sliced paper-thin, cut into 4-inch squares each

Method

Mix 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the thyme and garlic and rub all over the mushrooms. Let them marinate for 2 hours. Wipe off and reserve the thyme, garlic, and marinade oil. Slice the mushrooms inch thick.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Place the marinated mushroom slices on a baking sheet. Pour the reserved marinade oil over them and sprinkle with the reserved thyme and garlic. Bake for 10 minutes; remove and let cool. Wipe off and discard the thyme and garlic. Save any juices in the pan.

Raise the oven temperature to 500°F.

Roll out the dough to a 15-inch round. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil and cover with the mushroom slices in a single layer. Drizzle on any reserved juices. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through. Remove from the oven and cover with the slices of ham. Grind a generous amount of pepper over the ham and serve immediately.

,