One of our favorite cookbooks this spring is Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia, whose Philadelphia pizza we declared the country's best in 2015. The writing is hilarious, the recipes guarantee success (here's a basic red and white sauce, but you'll need to buy the book for the most important one: the dough), and there's two picture of pugs that justify purchasing the whole thing. Read Beddia's pizza rules here, and open your heart to anchovies in the excerpt below. —Alex Beggs
I used to hate anchovies. I can remember as a kid, before I really appreciated them, my parents (assholes) would get a pizza with half anchovies (for them) and half plain (for us). The problem was that the pizza place would cook the hell out of the anchovies until they had an intense gross fishy flavor that permeated the whole pie.
It was all a matter of finding great anchovies and figuring out how to use them. The thing with anchovies, as with prosciutto, is that they go through an extensive curing process. This makes them beautiful—salty, of course, but also fruity and addictively savory. Even the average anchovy in the tin can is cured and requires no cooking.
This is the simplest of all toppings. The key is to find a great anchovy. The best are generally from the Mediterranean and packed in salt. These fish need to be filleted and rinsed before eating. Normally the same company that offers the whole anchovy in salt also has the same fish filleted and in oil.
My favorite brand is Agostino Recca. These are the ones that we use at the pizza shop. The individual fillets are the same quality and a thousand times easier to cook with than the whole fish.
At Pizzeria Beddia we take anchovy fillets from Sicily and add them to the top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven. This allows them to melt a little, incorporate into the pie, and become aromatic. I usually try to break up one whole anchovy into two or three pieces over each slice—so about eight fillets total per pizza. Just don’t cook them!
From Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia by Joe Beddia. Copyright © 2017 by Joe Beddia. Reprinted by permission of Abrams Publishing.
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