Strange IndiaStrange India

If you ask me, too few briny toppings make their way aboard our precious pizza pies. Only olives are accepted enough that they regular appear as a menu choice (anchovies too, though they seem to be as, er, widely appreciated, though increasingly, many chains will deign to allow you to add tangy yellow peppers to your order.

But I think there’s an even more approachable topping out there that can supply pizza with the much needed balance of olives and anchovies while contributing a bit more textural interest. It’s pickles. It was always pickles.

Why pizza is ripe for pickles

In my mind, a pizza is comparable to a hot dog. (My mind is a strange place, I know.) Both dishes are salty and fatty, and can accommodate a wide range of toppings, but while many people feel free to get adventurous with their hot dog garnishes, daring pizza is less omnipresent.

A plain pizza has crust, tomato sauce, and cheese, but that’s barely scratching the surface. Typical toppings might be a smattering of veggies, or sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, or all of the above. Other pies might have a rich white sauce instead of a tomato-based one, taking away the one balancing acidic ingredient there is. Between the cheeses and meats alone, it’s just more salt and more fat. That is delicious, to be sure, but is it balanced? Not so much. This is where pickles can shine—and before you flee this website in terror, allow me to point out that I’m hardly the only person to have had this idea. Pickle pizza even briefly went viral on TikTok last year.

Bring on the brine

It’s no secret that I love pickles. They happen to be the perfect zingy match for a lot of rich foods, and I eat a lot of rich foods. The reason they pair so brilliantly with salt and fat is because they’re imbued with bright, tangy brine. That acid provides your palate with something to look forward to amid the heavier flavors. It’s a brief, juicy switch that keeps the pizza interesting, so it doesn’t slowly grow flavorless after the first slice. 

Pickles make it snappy

The less obvious joy that pickles bring to pizza is texture. While most pizza toppings are soft and mushy, pickles, even when cooked, will almost always retain some crunch, and a change in consistency is also what makes a dish interesting and pleasurable to eat. That’s why celebrity chefs are always commenting on the “crunchy element,” or the “crunch factor” on this or that food challenge show. It’s a predictable comment, but it’s a real factor worth considering. A smattering of crunchy pickles will certainly impress the judge. (The judge is you.)

Explore the pickle universe

I’m not just talking about pickled cucumbers. There are so many pickles in this world, and you can explore them all on your pizza pie. Try pickled red onions, spicy mango pickles, kimchi, giardiniera, or pickled lemons. For starters, you can certainly pop open a jar of your favorite bread and butter pickles, cornichons, or half-sour dills. 

Depending on the type of pickle you’re using, you can chop them into bite-sized pieces or leave them whole, and scatter them over scratch-made pizzas or ready-to-bake frozen pies. I pre-slice my frozen pizzas now, so I only bake as many slices as I need. Today, I cut some thick slices of Grillo’s half-sours and sat them right atop my slices, with a little extra cheese to lock them down. (Here’s a pickle lover’s tip: You can spoon a tiny bit of the brine over the pizza for an extra kick.) Bake the pizza as usual, and dig in. Before you leave me an angry comment, consider: You already love pickles on cheeseburgers and fried chicken sandwiches. It’s time to put them on your pizza.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *