This is a work in progress. It will be updated regularly. But so far, here is the jist:
Pizza is no longer just a thin slice of dough, tomato sauce and cheese. Of course we have seen toppings like pepperoni, sausage, anchovies, olives, even meatballs didn’t seem so odd. But somewhere along the line we started to see the “Hawaiian” version of pineapple and ham and even baked ziti topping, which I still don’t understand. Today, we have to come to terms with specialty pizza with all sorts of odd, interesting and appetizing selections and concoctions.
The pizza “winners” you see below are only my interpretation of interesting and/or delicious as well as creative. They won’t include your traditional toppings like black olives (my favorite), mushrooms, onions, green peppers, roasted peppers, double cheese and/or several cheeses.
I found this interesting, its from the TLC website, its toppings that are popular in other countries: recipes.howstuffworks.com/fresh-ideas/dinner-food-facts/favorite-pizza-toppings-in-10-countries.htm
- India: pickled ginger, minced mutton, and paneer (type of cottage cheese)
- Russia: mockba (sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, onions, red herring)
- Brazil: green peas
- Japan: eel, squid, and Mayo Jaga (mayonnaise, potato, bacon)
- France: flambée (bacon, onion, fresh cream)
- Pakistan: curry
- Australia: shrimp, pineapple, barbecue sauce
- Costa Rica: coconut
- Netherlands: “Double Dutch” — double meat, double cheese, double onion
The most expensive pizza is about $1,000 and/or $125/slice, its several different types of caviar, lobster, and while its luxurious, I am not sure if it works all in one. Just order the caviar on the side and have a slice of pizza with shaved rare truffles and cheeses.
So all that aside, here are what I consider some noteworthy innovations.
1) Buffalo Chicken (Gennaro’s Cucino, West Caldwell NJ) – WOW a perfect balance of pizza with fried buffalo pieces of chicken, drizzled with blue cheese dressing, bits of celery and really amazing.
2) The Claudio (Tony D’s, Caldwell NJ) – great combination of hot cherry peppers and gorgonzola cheese, which is very similar to blue cheese. Its salty, its spicy, its not for someone with a fragile stomach or taste buds.
3) Al Pacino: This place was on 22nd Street in Manhattan and what Al Pacino always ordered special. He went to the YMCA up the street, and would stop in afterward for lunch. Simply, fresh fire roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, fresh steamed plumb tomatoes. May not seem all odd, but it was a winner back in the 1990s when this brick oven pizza place was still in business.
4) Bruschetta: You already have all the components here, bread, diced tomatoes, onions, basil and if you add some cheese, its a great, even healthy choice.
5) Wolfgang Puck’s Smoked Salmon with Caviar: While this typically might not work (pizza should be hot), this somehow does. You have the base of the crust, dill cream sauce with chives, smoked salmon and sevruga caviar with diced red onion, and its delicious. I am not sure how this works, but I am sure the dough should be cooked, cooled, then the other ingredients added and served at room temperature.
6) Wild Mushroom Pizza (Tony D’s Caldwell NJ), 5 different types of mushrooms, shitake, portabello, button, oyster, and crimini mushrooms on top of provolone pan pizza. All fresh.
7) Quesadilla: This is basically your Mexican pizza and quite unique and delicious. You have your large round flour tortilla, monterrey, jack, cheddar and other cheeses of choice, with diced tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, and another flour tortilla on top. Its delicious, it might not even qualify as pizza but it still rocks over other “variations”.
1) Pizza Doce: Pizza with Chocolate and Capitury Cheese (Sapore D’ Italia João Pessoa, Brasil) – Some things that never work in my book are the mixing of sweet and savory, especially to extremes. I can understand dried cranberries in salads with walnuts, even apple sauce with roast pork, but chocolate and a form of mozzarella cheese on bread? No thanks. A Kit-Kat candy bar is about as close as I can get to this.
2) Baked Ziti and/or Vodka Rigatoni – All too common in many strip malls. Forget the fact that zita already has cheese on it, forget the fact that dough and pasta are both dough and starch. I just can’t see why you would want both on a slice of pizza. To me, its like Domino’s pasta in a bread bowl or mashed potatoes topped with french fries. Its too much, for me it does not work.
3) Shrimp and/or Seafood. Cheese and shellfish don’t mix. Have the shellfish as an appetizer, order pizza as the main course, but together, they simply don’t work. You can’t taste the seafood and the cheese and dough will only get in the way of the taste of the seafood itself.
There are some that you can try and find delicious, but they are basically and open faced sandwich, if you are in the mood for less bread try these:
1) Cheese Steak Pizza
2) Meatball Parm Pizza
3) Chicken Parm Pizza
4) Eggplant Pizza
5) Chicken Cutlet
6) Broccoli Rabe & Sausage
7) Arugula (just get the salad on the side)
Again, these are all things you will get in a sandwich, but somehow they turn it into pizza, which makes sense, but I just call it an open faced sandwich.