Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
In New York we call it pizza. Outside of the City, it’s called, “New York Pizza.” All across the country restaurants are trying to emulate the style and convince customers they have New York Pizza. Impossible.
New York pizza is pizza you get in New York. Ergo, If you’re in Georgia and make the best pizza on the planet, it’s not New York pizza, it’s Georgia Pizza. Just being literal. Part of what makes New York Pizza so good is that you’re eating it whilst in New York. You can be in any of the boroughs and still enjoy great New York Pizza.
There are two classic types of New York pizza. New Yorkers are always on the go, even if they don’t have anywhere to go. Grab a slice from a front window and you’re on your way. There was a time in the Mid 70’s when I was living on slices that cost me 40¢ each. Yes, I’m that old. This New York pizza consists of sauce and cheese on a thin crust that is soft but not doughy. Just fold and eat and you’re on your way. They are cooked in ovens designed for pizzas in either gas or electric. The Blodgett Ovens I’ve worked with most often were usually set to 550 degrees.
The other New York classic is wood or coal fired pizza. This has an even thinner crispier crust that is charred on the bottom due to the intense heat. If the thought of burnt crust turns you off, stay away from an oven that can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees cooking a pizza in 90 seconds.
Although pizzas were sold in American cities with large Italian populations for years, it was Gennaro Lombardi in 1905 who opened the first pizzeria on Spring Street in Little Italy.
Lombardi’s signature pizza is the Margherita. The thin crust is brushed with olive oil, covered with a San Marzono tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. I say YES to garlic! This is a simple pie where the fresh ingredients blend subtly and don’t assault your mouth.