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?
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.