Friday, March 16, 2018

Pizza vs Pizza.

Pizza, Meat, Dough, Greens, Olives  One time while visiting Indianapolis, several of us ended up eating at a restaurant where you entered through the kitchen to the dining room.  One of the ladies with us, grew up in Europe so she was accustomed to the way things were done there.

I ordered a pizza because there was one with eggplant Parmesan and other interesting vegetables.  It was strange because it arrived with a cracker like crust, no tomato sauce and only a sprinkle of cheese.

The European lady assured me, I'd received a real Italian style pizza.  At the time, I wondered about differences between American and Italian styles of pizza.  Even if you do not believe it, there are some fundamental differences including how its served.

First, American pizzas use a sauce of simmered tomatoes, spices, etc.  A sauce similar to spaghetti sauce which is what I usually use on my pizzas but in Italy, they use olive oil, fresh pureed or chopped tomatoes specifically San Marzanos, and fresh herbs made into a basic uncooked sauce.  If using cheese, it a good quality buffalo cheese is recommended for use or a proper mozzarella.

 In regard to meat, Americans love several types of meat on their pizza at once while Italians prefer only one type of meat so as to enjoy its unique flavor. 

As for the crust, it depends on where in Italy you are but you can have a crust that is cracker thin just like the one I had.  In addition, the crust is often made of a special Italian pizza flour, type 00, and allowed to sit at least 10 hours before being stretched out and made into a thin crust pizza, often cracker thin.  For the best pizza's, they should be cooked in a wood burning oven for exactly 3.5 minutes to get the signature blisters.  The size and shape is not always round.  I was told that Italian pizzas are often long and thin which was what I was served. They serve single slices folded in half and wrapped in paper, not like here where a single slice is placed on a paper plate.

The pizza started as workman's fare in Italy but has become something more here in the United States.  Now its the quick go to dinner when you are running late, need to feed an army, or  just want something for several meals.  Its gotten to the point, you can have just about anything on it.

Over the years, pizza has spread out to other countries and each country has placed its own stamp on their version of a pizza.  In Spain, the traditional pizza uses a lighter dough than that found in Italy, thinly rolled and topped with caramelized onions with chorizo, fresh vegetables, anchovies, and olives while the French use the same type of dough but top it with creme fraiche, caramelized onions,  and  lardons or a fatty bacon used to make lard.  Another variation of the French pizza uses a thicker dough with caramelized onions and anchovies.  They feel the salty anchovies balance the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

In Germany, they prefer using raw onions and bacon.  In Turkey, they use a flat bread base with lamb and middle eastern spices such as cumin and cinnamon.  If you get to Japan, their similar dish is Okonomyaki has a disk of cabbage cooked in a pancake batter topped with anything from sea food to eggs. 

As you can see, pizza has made its way around the world.  I am going to visit Germany this summer, so I'll look for their version of pizza to check it out.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Have a good day.

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