Why am I in the minority where pepperoni is concerned? I don't like pepperoni. I'll eat pepperoni pizza if it's the only thing around, such as last night (and leftovers for lunch today) but in reality, it's kinda like eating cooked carrots. I don't care for them much, but if they're on my dinner plate I'll consume them. I prefer them raw, with bleu cheese dressing. :-)
Packaged pepperoni has that funky reddish-orange greasiness. I think I need to try some authentic Italian deli pepperoni. I'm betting that the difference will be huge, like when you have homemade macaroni and cheese as opposed to the boxed kind with that not-found-in-nature powdered orange cheese. C'mon, admit it...we all like Kraft.
When I make pizza, it isn't like Domino's or Papa John's, Godfather's, Double Dave's or Pizza Hut. It isn't like DiGiorno, Amy's Organic, Red Baron or my early childhood favorite, Totino's. It definitely isn't like the best pizza in the U.S., the Sweep The Kitchen pizza at Johnny's Pizza in Monroe, Louisiana, where I grew up. I would say it's the best in the world, but since I haven't been outside of the U.S., aside from Mexico, I can't make that claim. I'm betting there is fabulous pizza to be had in Italy. I've had NY style pizza, folding the thin crust and eating it like Tony Manero (John Travolta) in the opening scenes of "Saturday Night Fever" and still enjoy Johnny's more.
[Quick Kaya trivia: SNF was my very first R rated movie. My mother and her friend took Kim & me to see it and we sat at least four rows away from them in an almost empty theater...it must've been the first showing of the day. They giggled uncontrollably when Tony's friend pretends to drive off while he's trying to open the car door, causing Tony to complain "You assholes almost broke my pussy finger!". My sister and I were truly embarrassed by their laughter.]
Let me get back on track but take a moment to rhapsodize about the Sweep The Kitchen pizzza. It had it all. Pepperoni, ham, hamburger, sausage, bacon, onions, mushrooms, black olive, bell peppers, jalapeños and anchovies on a thin pizza crust spread with an unassuming but perfectly complimentary red sauce and covered with mozzarella. The sauce and toppings are always spread to the very edge, so the "pizza bones" or crust, if you prefer, were almost nonexistent. Johnny is a hometown Monroe man who started the chain in the year of my birth, probably in homage to my future cooking skills. I wish. Truthfully, the year I was born, he opened his first pizza joint in a tiny building on Desiard across from the university. Back then (and when I went there) it was known as Northeast Louisiana University. Now it is called the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Ugh. At least the college students have plenty of Johnny's Pizza restaurants to order from now. The local chain survived and thrived enough to make it through a rough spot in the 80's when they filed Chapter 11. They introduced the Sweep The Swamp pizza in the 80's, too, so the decade wasn't all bad.
No, my pizzas are more exotic creations. My current fav is smoked salmon, goat cheese, red onion, capers, anchovies and mozzarella on a thin crust. I don't like bready pizza crust. I don't care much for deep dish at all, unless the crust is thin and the fillings are plentiful. As Frederick says, a pizza cobbler. And I don't use red pizza sauce much. I usually just spread the crust with crushed garlic or garlic paste and layer on a bit of mozzarella before topping it with whatever...and more mozzarella on top, of course. I like making mini pizzas on 81/2" x 11" sheets of lavash bread. This type of lavash looks a little bit thicker than a tortilla and comes in precut rectangular sheets. It makes a fantastic cracker type crust.
I like pizza margherita, the classic tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella. I like using proscuitto or chicken and ingredients such as thin slices of seeded tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, olives (in moderation, since Frank doesn't care much for them), basil, shrimp, spinach, capers and of course anchovies. If I have deli meats, like hot sopresata or capicola hard salami, I'll use those, too. I suppose they are my answer to the sliced pepperoni found in unrefrigerated packages in the grocery store. How many preservatives do they have in order to be on the shelves in simple plastic packages? Lately I've been dreaming of a chicken, monterey jack, onion and long green chile pizza.
What do you like on your pizza? And please, no hate mail from pepperoni lovers. I don't knock anyone's preferences so don't have a hissy over mine.