Pizza: The Good, The Great, and the Best-Forgotten

Pizza: The Good, The Great, and the Best-Forgotten

Pizza: The Good, The Great, and the Best-Forgotten

29 September 2021

If you took the number of pizzas eaten in Australia each year (nearly 280 million of them) and arranged them side by side on a flat stretch of land, it would be the width of an Olympic swimming pool and stretch into the distance, nearly three kilometres long.

Yet, for all the indigestion that image may bring out, Australia is nowhere near the top of the pile when it comes to per capita consumption. Americans (on average) each eat pizza once every six days, while the true global champions, the Norwegians, have those ovens on permanent top heat, allowing every citizen to get their hit twice a week.

There are few foods in our lives not made better for a little extra time on the stove; from that perspective, itís all about the flavour. But the kinds of ingredients that do that best arenít the sort commanding premium price in the supermarket. No, instead, itís the cheaper cuts, the earthier vegetables and the bycatch fish that achieve this result best of all. Itís not simply a good idea to scrimp from a budgetary perspective, it makes damned good cooking sense too.

When it comes to pizza, itís worth remembering a few essential rules that must be followed, rules that make all the difference between good, great, and entirely forgettable pizza.

Just because anything can go on a pizza doesnít mean that everything should. In Australia, Meatlovers, Hawaiian and Margherita are by far the three most popular toppings.

MeatloversÖ

Is generally delivered poorly, even though it might taste delicious, because of a failure in pizza engineering. A heavy meat sauce, pepperoni, and salami, too much cheese, and a swaddling of barbecue sauce show us the golden rule in action Ė do not overload your pizza because itís impossible to eat if you do. After all, how many times have you experience youíre the topping of your meaty flatbread dinner slide off the crust and right into your lap. Donít worry; youíre not alone.

Hawaiian pizzaÖ

Is, well, to call it an abomination would be cruel to abominations, so letís just agree that there are better places for a pineapple to hang out. I understand the idea of adding some sweetness to contrast the richness of ham and cheese, but the total sweetness is far too much and dilutes the impact and appeal of the remaining pizza, regardless of how good the intentions. If you absolutely must desecrate your pizza in this way, do yourself a favour, and put just a few drops of rice, coconut or apple cider vinegar on it before you serve. The acidity cuts through that sweetness, creating a significantly better experience in no time at all.

MargheritaÖ

Was invented in 1880 to celebrate the arrival of Queen Margherita and King Umberto of the newly created Italian state. Its ingredients (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil) were intended to symbolise the nationís colours. For 120 years, its essential simplicity and elegance has made Margherita the touchstone of everything pizza tries to be.

So, what can you put on a pizza?

As we have observed, technically anything. After all, Nutella pizza is in Australiaís top ten. Go figure. But it can also be a brilliant way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge.

A few rules before you start:

  1. Donít overload the top, as this will make the dough wet, prevent it from rising, and stop it from cooking through.
  2. Donít expect ingredients to cook on the pizza (with the exception of seafood); use cooked product instead.
  3. And lastly, perhaps most importantly, less is more. If you want your pizza to be outstanding, a thin topping (and a bare margin around the edges) is essential. Remember, youíre better off with two thin pizzas than one thick one you regret.

If you are looking for inspiration, we have three delicious Fast Ed recipes to download and try, as well as the perfect traditional Neapolitan pizza dough base to build upon.

Happy pizza making!

 

 

Mushroom, Taleggio and Sage Pizza

The Ultimate Meatlovers Pizza

Moroccan sweet potato and lentil soup with tomatoes and kale

Smoked Chicken, Capsicum and Gouda Pizza

Sausage, carrot and zucchini hotpot

Traditional Neapolitan Pizza Dough

Chunky beef and forest mushroom casserole with shredded greens

 

Happy cooking!

Find more recipes from Fast Ed