Hell Yeah, Pizza! The Real Sicilian Slice

photo credit: chris cona

I didn’t start this blog as a food blog. Foodies are annoying and pretentious, and frankly, reviewing things is a shit-ton of work. I don’t understand how those people enjoy the food they’re eating while taking pictures and notes and crap like that. (I’d like to take this moment to note that yesterday’s post of pizza macro-photography was taken the day after the pizza was primarily consumed… and secondarily consumed) The little tag at the top right of this page is more what I was thinking: “Food, Drink and a Lifetime of Marginalia.” I make little notes to myself as I walk down the street and sometimes I think that people would like to read about it. My twitter is good for that. Lots of pictures of tourists doing silly things.

That said, like anyone else’s, my life goes through phases. This time last year I was transitioning from one band to another and spending a good chunk of my time researching speakers and kissing club-promoter ass while spending an unconscionable amount of money on bass strings and EP pressings. When that happened I stopped writing (following an aborted short story career) and got down to re-learning scales and songwriting and stuff. Now I’m back to writing and frankly, some of the things I love the most are food and drink. So that’s what’s going in here. And now the blog that I wasn’t going to make personal, just got personal.

Anyway, the family that taught me how to wrangle a brick oven is visiting us for a couple of weeks. Saturday night my dad’s cousin made us some amazing pizza in our standard oven with a pizza stone. As much as I love brick oven pizza (read: pro-oven pizza), my family’s pizza is always the best. Be it my Napolitana mother’s lovingly rustic “every friday in the winter” pizzas or my dad’s sicilian cousins’ regional stuff. It’s home. Also, I don’t need/I’m not allowed to hack my parents’ oven. It’s just not necessary.

photo credit: Carmela C.

So last night they made a bunch of pies for us and some family friends, et cetera. Gabi didnt proof the dough, made with Italian “00” flour, for more than a couple hours. It was wet, but depending on how it was handled, worked in four or five different kinds of pies, including the lede shot above and some stuffed bread. The mise en place was handled by yours truly while I was waiting for my porchetta to be done for the Box Social Barbecue down the block. There was sausage and broccoli and some potato mess going on, but I want to talk about that pizza above.

Don’t Let the Guys In Penn Station Fool You

This is the real Sicilian slice. Known as sfincione, it is a pizza made with slightly crushed tomatoes, cheese and anchovies. I’ve had it in a few different thicknesses, but this week’s more closely resembled a focaccia than a pizza. It was super light and airy, probably from a not-too-handled very-wet dough. It was like biting into a really, really light piece of cake. But made of pizza dough, natch. Salty, sweet, nutty due to light dusting of pecorino (I think), it was pretty kickass.

IMG_0353

My first experience with sfincione occurred immediately after arriving in Italy last summer. I was starving and accompanied my dad to the paneteria to pick up some bread for the day. While there, I tried a 6-inch-personal-pizza-size pizza that I folded in half to eat. All the flavors that I’ve always associated with home, Italy, my Grandmothers, redolent of sauce and anchovies, swaddled in a thin crust and–most importantly–the first thing I ate that day. I was in heaven. I’d never really had anchovies on pizza before that and, considering how many dishes that I add them to anyway, I couldn’t believe that I’d been missing out.

One side note: my Sicilian experience is pretty limited to one or two locales, so if you know of a place where the pizza is dense and cheesy like the big NY Sicilian slice please opine in the comments. I’d be interested to see just how sub-regional the region gets.

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About chris
www.chriscona.com

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