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October 29, 2008

Anchovy Angst vs. Pizza Progression


For decades upon decades, the pizza was the simplest of pie-related foods to manufacture. Slap down a crust, top it with a film of tomato sauce, top that with assorted toppings, top those toppings with shredded cheese and bake until done.


It is a simple recipe, having the advantage of being popular.


Recent years have seen a number of innovations to the standard pie design. The circled crust was altered into a square. Ham and pineapple was paired into a combination that pitted Hawaiian culture against Italian, often with bloody results.


Finally, engineers in secret kitchen laboratories in undisclosed locations finally cracked the yeast matrix and developed a crust design that could support a sauce that was not tomato based. This gave way to an explosion in advances in pizza design. The promise of different sauces literally ripped open the world of possibilities and made the impossible possible.


Oh, what a world!


If a simple pizza covered in ham gave us a pizza covered in ham and pineapple; then it is logical to wonder what comes past a pizza topped with anchovies.


The anchovy has long been a controversial pizza topping. In fact, it is widely understood that the most common reason given by those who order is not to share it. Those who do so have girded their stomachs against the highly negative effects of anchovies.


It is difficult to believe that the next step in pie evolution is pizza whose eating experience is highly desirable. The anchovy is disagreeable and sharp. You would expect the next step to be perhaps taking an eel that has washed up on shore and sat in the sun for two days. What you wouldn’t expect is to make the fish tasty, and add to it other pieces of complementary seafood. It will be like a combo group, with the fish signing the tune, shrimp playing a drum and crab chunks strumming a guitar.


Lay down on the crust a film of alfredo sauce. Top that with chopped green onions, fresh basil leaves cut into thin slivers and finely diced red onion.


Make sure you start with seafood elements that are already fully cooked, because if there is one thing worse than a pizza with anchovies, it is a pizza with raw seafood. Perhaps you think that this is would be the natural progression of things. If that is the case, you are a lonely person in a dark, dark place.


Spread these different elements around the sauce and amongst the other ingredients.


Scrape the zest off a lemon and spread that around the seafood and other ingredients liberally. You may recognize this as adding lemon juice to seafood.


Anyone who has eaten pizza – and not eating pizza in some states is an offense that may be punished by expulsion to a nation – knows what comes next. Add a generous upper layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.


Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until the top layer of cheese has melted.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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