After numerous posts on pizza fritta, today, I thought of creating the traditional pizza montanara. Pizza fritta is deep fried pizza from Naples, Italy. It has been popularized by Kesté Pizza & Vino in New York, USA. The restaurant is owned by the great chef Roberto Caporuscio. He is the one who is responsible for popularizing the deep fried pizza over in the USA.
The traditional pizza montanara uses smoked mozzarella, cooked tomatoes sauce, basil and pecorino. I couldn't find smoked mozzarella anywhere from where I am residing. So, I have to improvise; I added liquid smoke to my low-moisture shredded mozzarella. You can totally omit this step if you can get your hands on smoked mozzarella.
As a rebel, I personally do not really like cooked tomato sauce on my pizza as I find it cooking the tomatoes will water down it's natural taste, I mean the pizza will be finishing off in the oven in the final stages. I also use fresh mozzarella on top of low-moisture mozzarella which I find that the combo works like a charm with different layers of funkiness. Instead of just plain basil, I used my favorite blend of fresh herbs; basil, parsley and scallions. Perhaps this is my metaphor of montanara. What will be your metaphor? You have to give this recipe a try to find out.
(Make three 8 inch pizza)
Spicy Tomato Sauce:
Olive Oil, 1/4 Cup
Garlic Thinly Sliced, 3 Cloves
Chili Flakes, Pinch Adjust To Preference
Canned Crushed Tomatoes Preferably Muir Glen Fire Roasted, 14oz
Pizza Fritta Dough, 3 Dough Balls
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, For Frying
Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, For Frying
Fresh Basil Leaves, 12 Leaves + A Handful
Low Moisture Smoked Mozzarella Freshly Shredded, 1 Cup
Fresh Mozzarella, 12 Large Pinches
Pecorino Romano Freshly Grated, 2 TBSP
Fleur de Sel, Pinch
Black Pepper, Pinch
White Pepper, Pinch
Fresh Italian Parsley, A Handful
Green Onion / Scallions White & Green Parts, A Handful
Dutch Oven / Deep Fryer
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Wire Cooling Rack / Plate Lined with Kitchen Paper
Please visit my “making pizza at home" page for shaping the pizza dough.
Please visit my “Pizza Fritta Dough” page for the dough recipe.
*For best pizza fritta result, ferment the dough in the fridge for 24 hours and 24 more hours at room temperature before shaping and frying.*
Prepare the spicy tomato sauce.
In a skillet over low heat, add olive oil.
Add in garlic and chili flakes.
Allow the garlic and chili flakes to simmer in the oil for about 15 mins.
*The heat has to be on super low, or the garlic and chili flakes will burn very fast.*
As soon as the garlic start to brown along the edges, remove from heat and transfer into a large bowl.
Add in the tomatoes.
Mix to combine well. Mix, mix, mix.
Set aside until ready to use.
*The sauce can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.*
Deep fry and assemble the pizza.
Preheat oven to broil setting.
Prepare a dutch oven or a deep fryer with at least 3 inches of oil.
*The ratio of canola oil to olive oil is 4:1.*
*If you use 1 cup of canola oil, your olive oil should be 1/4 cup.*
*Olive oil is bad for deep frying as it has low smoking point. It is used, in this recipe however, for flavoring.*
*Drop a small pinch of dough into the oil. If it starts to sizzle, the temperature of the oil is ready.*
After shaping the pizza dough, gently and carefully, drop the pizza dough into the oil away from you.
Deep fry until bottom is golden brown.
Using tongs to carefully flip the pizza dough.
Deep fry until golden brown on the other side as well.
Using tongs to carefully transfer the pizza dough onto a wire cooling rack or a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.
Immediately, spoon and spread the spicy tomato sauce over the pizza dough.
Add 4 basil leaves on to the sauce.
Top the pizza off with sprinkles of smoked mozzarella.
*If you do not have smoked mozzarella, add 1/2 TSP of liquid smoke into shredded low-moisture mozzarella.*
Pinch fresh mozzarella and place on top of the basil. By doing so, it will prevent the basil from burning.
Sprinkle pecorino over the top.
Season with fleur de sel and pepper.
Wack into the oven and broil until the cheese has melted.
Remove from oven and immediately, using scissors, cut the basil, parsley and green onions over the top, distributing them evenly.
Repeat the steps for the remaining pizza.
Slice and serve immediately.