Not long ago, toppings for pizza were becoming unbearably fancy — hoisin-slathered duck, or fontina and truffles — or just ridiculous (you’ve seen the ones with pasta?). Pizza threatened to become something other than pizza. Fortunately, that trend has reversed. Nevertheless, it is still fun to innovate, or to adopt a pizza tradition you were not familiar with. My friend Ed Schneider, a sometime food writer and brilliant home cook, called me recently with a suggestion that sounded so good I tried it immediately: pan-fried pizza.
Turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that pizza fritta probably originated in Naples; you can also find it in Scotland, sometimes stuffed with chips, but enough said about that. The principles and ingredients are classic, the technique and results strikingly different from what pizza lovers have come to expect. Take pizza dough and shape it — small disks are best — then fry it for 3-4 minutes for each part in enough olive oil to crisp the bottom. Then flip it.
If the toppings are hot (as, for example, tomato sauce might be) or the quantities small (a bit of grated cheese, rather than a pile), all you need to do from this point is drop them on top, then brown the bottom of the second side. This one has mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciuto, and fresh basillicum, droped in this order.
If, on the other hand, you choose to load on the toppings, you must either cover the pan or run the whole thing under the broiler, so that they get good and hot.
The result is a small pie, ultracrisp, with the wonderful flavor of olive oil permeating the dough.