Peppe Miele, Part 2, San Marzano Tomatoes
We have 10 webisodes in this interview series with Peppe Miele, so we’ll be covering a lot in the coming weeks. In this segment, Peppe explains a little more about the Vera Pizza Napoletana school of thought, focusing on the famous tomatoes from San Marzano. As you will see, the sauce made from these tomatoes is beautiful (and it tastes as good as it looks, with a fresh, sweet, vibrant flavor) but the whole subject of pizza sauce tomatoes is controversial, especially here in the United States where we grow our own great sauce tomatoes and have many highly regarded brands, and every pizzeria has its own favorite (we here at Pizza Quest tend to be partial to the Bianco-DiNapoli organic tomatoes grown in California which, to our taste, are as good as those grown in San Marzano). Also, as Peppe points out, San Marzano sul Sarno, which is a town in Campania, near Naples (and benefits from the volcanic soil and ash of Mt. Vesuvius), is a very small growing region so there’s no way it could supply everyone — I guess there just aren’t enough volcanoes to go around. But San Marzano tomatoes are an intrinsic part of the cultural identity of pizza Napoletana, and there are an increasing number of pizzerias in America that are bringing them in. These tomatoes also have established a benchmark to which other tomato growers aspire. (By the way, as an aside, my friend Joe Beddia, of Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, and who has just been anointed by Bon Appetite Magazine as making the best pizza in America, uses tomatoes grown in New Jersey, confirming what George Costanza and all the rest of us from Philly, New York, and New Jersey have long known about those fabulous Jersey tomatoes — and they do it without volcanic ash!!).
In the next segment we’ll talk about Italian Double Zero (–00–) flour, but for now, enjoy Peppe Miele and his San Marzano tomatoes!
Recent Articles by Peter Reinhart
- Pizza Quest, Season Three, Episode 5: Ji Hye Kim, Korean Cuisine Re-imagined in Ann Arbor
- Pizza Quest, Season Three, Episode 4: Pizza Champion Tommy Garnick’s Artisan Journey in the Desert
- Pizza Quest, Season Three, Episode 3: Marc Forgione, From Iron Chef to Peasant
- Pizza Quest Season Three, Episode 2: Alan Cahn, The Transformation-Meister
- Pizza Quest, Season Three, Episode 1: “Pizza Quest,” the book!
- Pizza Talk, Season Two, Episode 13: The Sourdough Club, Vanessa Kimbell
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