Anchovy Pizza

Pizza: I’ve heard people say that even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. Agreed. Everyone has their favorite. First, there is the choice of crust. Do you like your’s thin and crispy, hand tossed, folded over New York style, or Chicago deep dish? Some restaurants now even offer gluten-free crust. What about the sauce? Tomato based red or creamy white. Finally, meats, veggies, or both? There are literally hundreds of ways to combine ingredients to create your perfect pizza.

In some ways, it is hard to beat the classic cheese pizza. This pie is always a winner, even with children having the most finicky palettes. 

Perhaps no other topping invokes a visceral passion amongst pizza lovers as anchovies. You may love or hate them, but you can’t say they aren’t flavorful. Why do pizzerias offer anchovies, even though no one ever orders them?

Italian tradition

According to slate.com; Italians have been putting fish on bread for at least 2,000 years. Ancient Romans topped their flatbreads with garum, a ubiquitous condiment made of fermented fish parts. And fish was one of the toppings for pizza when the dish was first developed. This happened in Naples during the late-18th and early-19th centuries. The original varieties were: 

  • Bianca, with olive oil and salt
  • Margherita, with milled preserved tomatoes 
  • con Pomodoro, with sliced tomatoes, and 
  • Marinara, with tomatoes and anchovies. 

These pizzas were peasant food, and anchovies made an ideal topping—they were cheap, plentiful, and could be preserved almost indefinitely in oil and salt. Pizza marinara got its name from Neapolitan sailors. There’s no indication they ever asked for green peppers or pork products on their pies.

I inherited my love of anchovy pizza from my father. Dad and uncle Lester used to order Pizza Marinara from a traditional Italian pizzeria In Springfield called Neapolitan’s. It is my favorite to this day.

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7 Responses to Anchovy Pizza

  1. Brandy Hickman says:

    Love this😊

  2. Brenda says:

    Pleasant memories, Brad! Dad didn’t care for pizza, but he did like puttering around in the kitchen. Some of his experiments were not all that great as food, but they are fond memories!

  3. Ann says:

    Brad – I still remember that time in Europe that you and Gregg had me convinced that I had eaten an anchovy pizza.

  4. Kathy and Don Wilkinson says:

    You, me and anchovies!

  5. Mike Hinton says:

    My first pizza was prepared by neighbors in Arlington, VA when I was in elementary school. The made Chef Boyardee pizza and I thought it was the best thing ever! I’ve been eating it ever since then. Thanks for the post.

  6. Angela Diaz says:

    My fave is gluten free Hawaiian style! (With a glass of white wine).

  7. Beth says:

    How interesting – margherita is my first choice always! Although I like most varieties of pizza please do not give me anything with pineapple or chicken on it. My mother always made the Chef Boyardee pizzas, too.

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