My Spicy Hawaiian
It was a beautiful day and I had some dough resting in my fridge. What more could anyone want? I could feel my wood fired oven calling out to me as I left the beach.
I stopped by my market on the way home and the first thing that caught my eye were the pineapples. They were perfectly ripe, not too soft, not too hard and I thought immediately of Nancy Silverton’s take on a Hawaiian Pizza over at Pizzeria Mozza. She decided to honor her son’s love of the traditional ham and pineapple Hawaiian Pizza by sprucing it up as an artisan masterpiece. She uses a beautiful Salumi instead of ham (Canadian Bacon) and adds Fresno Chilis to give the salty – sweet pizza a nice spark of spiciness with the Fresnos. I didn’t find any red fresno chilis or red jalapeños, so I decided to get my spice elsewhere for this pizza. I headed over to the deli to get some spicy soppressata to bring that combination of salt and spice to add to the sweet fresh pineapple.
I find the flavor of Spicy Soppressata to be a brilliant balance of a salty-fatty salami with the addition of what I would call a warmed, or “roastiness” from the hot pepper/chilis and paprika. You can just as easily combine your favorite salami and a roasted chili (Fresno, or Calabrian chilis) to achieve a similar taste experience, but there is a unique flavor that soppressata salami has that I love.
The pineapple turned out to be about as perfectly ripe as any pineapple I have ever had. I’m not exaggerating. It was delicious and I couldn’t stop eating pieces as I cut it and prepared the pizza. I tore a piece of soppressatta and took a bite of it with some pineapple. I often do this to taste how my ingredients will go together as I am either coming up with a pizza idea, or standing over the ingredients I’ve laid out deciding what to put together. These two ingredients were perfect and really an expression of the day I was having. It made me think of the warm sun as it was setting over the Pacific.
I placed alternating slices of soppressata and pineapple and created a nice “pizza wheel” which allowed for the beautiful combination of flavors in most bites between the sauce, cheese, sweet pineapple and spicy soppressata. My pizzas are rarely a true “wheel”! I prefer to make them less perfect which allows for different shapes and pockets and uneven charring which to me adds just makes it all feel more hand made.
This is really a simple pizza, but just a beautiful combination of flavors. I think Nancy nailed it when she took the Hawaiian pizza to a new level. This is such a great pizza for a summer evening.
A Spicy Hawaiian Pizza
- Your favorite Pizza Dough
- Peter’s Crushed Tomato Sauce
- Mozzarella (Fresh or Hard)
- Spicy Soppressata – sliced super thin
- Fresh Pineapple – sliced in long strips about 1/8th of an inch thick
- Fresh Basil
Put it together:
Carefully spread the pizza dough on the counter, or pizza peel and then add the tomato sauce and chopped basil. Top with grated mozzarella (or, fresh mozzarella). Start laying out alternating strips of the soppressata and pineapple from the center of the pizza to the outer edge in a “bicycle spoke” pattern until you have completed the circle.
Into the oven. A few turns later in my Primavera WFO and it’s ready to come out. If baking in your home oven, I recommend using a Pizza Steel and baking at 550 degrees convection setting (no need to turn the pizza in the kitchen oven).
You can see that the pineapple appears to have almost melted into this pizza. You can make the slices thicker for a more sweet forward taste, or thinner for a more balanced flavor. I always cut my soppressata as thin as possible so that it gets some crispy edges as it bakes in the oven. Since the soppressata isn’t overwhelmingly spicy, you could even add Nancy’s Fresno Chilis or even some thinly sliced red jalapeños!
Recent Articles by Brad English
Pizza Quest Info
Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.
...and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com