My very first hunting trip was spent with my husband on the most beautiful land in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama. Scott, my husband, and I were dating at the time, and he was harvesting quail like crazy. The quail hunt was an event like I had never seen before.
Besides the fantastic relationships that are built, quail hunting provides mighty amazing meals for the table. Quail’s sweet, tender meat is one of life’s treasures. It seems through the years I have used quail in just about every way possible.
One of my favorite recipes, Rustic Quail Pizza, is among the tastiest preparations of quail and everyone I have ever fed this pizza is instantly won by its perfect flavor. Quail is so mild that it can taste bland, so the pizza’s herbs and cheeses add just the perfect amount of everything, bringing out the taste of the bird.
The dough can be made ahead and frozen. No worries if you don’t have all of the ingredients. As long as the dough and sauce are right, you’re good-to-go! Everything else is just “gravy.”
Rustic Quail Pizza
Makes 2 Pizzas
- 8 cups self-rising flour, extra for dusting
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 ¾ cups warm water
- 1 pint crushed tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of one lime
- Tablespoon of thyme
- 1/2 cup of olive oil, for browning and sautéing
- 1 medium eggplant, skin removed and thinly sliced
- 4 green tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Meat of 4 Pain Fried Quail
- 1 pound prosciutto, sliced
- 1 pound sausage, browned
- 1 pound provolone, sliced
- ½ cup basil, chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 ½ cups parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl, mix flour and salt. Sprinkle yeast over flour and slowly begin to incorporate warm water into the flour with clean hands or a wooden spoon. Using all of the water may not be necessary. Place dough in a non-humid location and let rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place crushed tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and thyme in a medium sized bowl and puree with a stick blender. If you do not have a stick blender place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is simmering add vegetables in batches until vegetables are soft.
Sprinkle flour onto work surface and place dough onto the floured surface. Split dough into two equal parts with a knife or a dough scraper. Starting from the center roll out one of the dough balls into a 1/8 inch thick rectangle. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle a little flour on dough and continue to roll. Place dough on a cookie sheet. Repeat with other dough ball.
Divide toppings between the two pizzas by first adding the sauce leaving an inch around the sides. Continue layering each pizza with the vegetables, meat of the Pan Fried Quail, provolone, prosciutto, and sausage. Lightly sprinkle entire pizza with salt including the edges. Sprinkle basil and parmesan cheese evenly over pizzas.
Bake pizzas for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.
Stacy Lyn Harris is a presenter on the Wild Game Cooking Stage at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2016. She is the author of three best-selling cookbooks—“Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living,” “Tracking the Outdoors In” and “Wild Game: Food for Your family”—along with a DVD “Gourmet Venison.”