York is a pizza town. Just ask our
recently elected mayor, Bill di Blasio.
Shortly after he took office, he travelled to Staten Island, a
borough well-known for the stuff, where he took out a knife and fork to eat his
pizza. You would have thought the man
had committed an impeachable offense. It
must have been particularly hard on the mayor whose Italian credentials are
impeccable. He was born Warren Wilhelm Jr. He changed his name to incorporate
that of his mother becoming first Warren di Blasio-Wilhelm and later just Bill
di Blasio. His mother was one only two Italian Americans in her Smith College
class of 1938. And he speaks fluent
Italian. But when he chose to eat pizza
with a knife and fork, they almost ran him off Staten Island.
hesitated to post this recipe. I worry that it comes dangerously close
to Frito Pies or one never-to-be-forgotten summer camp dish: corned beef hash and canned corn mashed up together in a frying
pan and covered in ketchup. That’s not
to say both weren’t delicious--especially if you were hungry teenager on a camping trip. Although we like to think that as we’ve aged, we’ve outgrown these kind of campfire concoctions, we were drawn to "Meatzza". It's from Nigella Lawson’s latest cookbook,
"Nigellissima” (Clarkson Potter 2012). “Meatzza”, as you can likely guess, contains some elements of
Pizza. Pizza is my idea of the perfect food because it hits every element
in the pyramid--protein, dairy, vegetable and those carbs in the crust.That alone might
make me want to try "Meatzza". But to choose it as the first recipe out of the 120 Ms. Lawson’s 8th cookbook contains, requires some further
Need I tell you, we didn’t have lamb
for Easter. Instead we had one of our
glorious whole, bone-in hams, with a side of Kielbasa. As much as we enjoyed our feast, I had
lamb on my mind when we came back to the city.
A couple of weeks ago, I’d found a recipe for Lamb Pizza. Pizza, I need not tell you, has pretty well
taken over the world. And apparently
Turkey is no exception. This particular
pizza is the work of a woman named Semsa Denizsel who owns a take-out food shop
and restaurant in Istanbul called Kantin. Chef Denizsel is no stranger to Food and Wine
Magazine, which is where I encountered her recipe. She’s provided them with
four of her recipes so far. I am sure
there are more coming as Ms. Denizsel is acquiring a reputation as an authority
on Turkish Cuisine. Kantin is located in Istanbul’s poshest neighborhood. Now 13 years old, the focus of the food there
is simple, honest and homemade. The Chef
is a complete locavore and a seasonal cook.
So even when something like eggplant floods the markets of Istanbul, if
it isn’t locally grown or in season you won’t find it at Kantin. What you will find
is inventive cooking like these lamb pizzas spiced with red pepper and
sweetened with sun-dried tomatoes.
Topped with an egg and baked in a hot oven, they’re elevate a simple
week night supper into an adventure.
regular readers know, we’re big fans of the Canadian Chef Chuck Hughes, whose
recipes we’ve shared here before and whose Le Bremner restaurant was one of
the highlights of last fall’s culinary adventures in Montreal.His food is uncomplicated, fresh as can be
and his personality is truly winning.So
when I decided to make lunch the other day and one of his recipes came to mind,
I jumped on it.
An homage to CO. and DiPalo Dairy Store in Little Italy
It’s great to live in a city where you can still shop in a traditional Italian cheese and dairy store that’s 99 years old and just expanded into the space next door. That’s quite an accomplishment given that New York’s Little Italy is fast contracting and is now cheek to cheek with an ever-enlarging Chinatown. But Louis DiPalo continues his family’s almost century-long run at DiPalo Dairy at 200 Grand Street, (212-226-1033).
Now I won’t say this place actually reminded me of my old haunts in Rome which were more Salumerias than Dairy outposts. But it is exclusively Italian down to the Illy coffee that was being sampled along with rounds of Gran Padano, that cousin of Parmigiano that’s grainier and less well known. DiPalo continues that wonderful Italian tradition of letting you sample virtually everything you buy.
We were treated to paper thin slices of prosciutto that literally melted in our mouths and we got to taste our cheeses. The cheese selection at DiPalo is fantastic and I think, well priced. I got Pecorino Romano for $12.00 a pound and Gran Padano was on offer at 11.99. Then there was, at 7.99 for 500 grams or 1.1 lbs., the all-important Stracciatella, yet another cousin, this time of mozzarella, that’s the basis for my homage to Co., the new pizza place at 230 Ninth Avenue and 24th Street (212-243-1105).
And there’s also a little nod (in the use of the prosciutto) to the spectacular “Parma” pizza at World Pie, 2402 Main Street in Bridgehampton (631 537 7999), which is one of our all-time favorites.
We are in full pizza mode in New York at this point. It’s one of the most frequent of foody discussions and pizza practitioners have amped up their offerings and, more often than not, thinned out their crusts to a point where one wag described them as communion-wafer thin.