Salad Pizza – Arugula and Margherita


(photo: homemade pizza with arugula salad <including red onion>)

Growing up in the suburbs just outside of New York City our neighborhood had its fair share of pizza joints, including Vincent’s Pizzeria, Sal’s Classic, First Pizza Pan, Godfather II Pizzeria, Euro’s Pizzeria, Villa Rosa Pizzeria, etc.  All of the pizzeria’s mentioned made pizza in the NY fashion, that is to say, a fairly thin crust, tomato sauce made from canned tomatoes, and a combination of authentic and inauthentic cheeses.  One of the aforementioned pizzeria’s produced a pie labeled as “salad pizza”; namely, a standard cheese pizza with the addition of chopped romaine lettuce with salad dressing.  The salad pizza was surprisingly good, in the spirit of the Italian American pizza world, and I consumed the pizza only with friends who were loyal to the specific pizzeria in question (our family had long ago selected our local pizzeria and I wasn’t allowed to stray).

In Italy you won’t find a salad pizza, but you will find plenty of interesting toppings including arugula.  And while vacationing in Calabria one of our favorite pizza spots served a traditional pizza Margherita (originally created for the visiting <Naples> Queen Margherita – remember pizza is a fairly new food type) with the addition of arugula tossed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt (another variant included local Prosciutto).  In turn, we were inspired to create a pizza arugula this past week which both pleased and fired up the old neurotransmitters, transporting us back to the many villages and towns we visited near the Mediterranean Sea.

(photo: tossed arugula salad with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper)
Ingredients and Process:
The recipe for salad pizza is notoriously simple and it includes making a batch of traditional pizza and then simply tossing fresh arugula (if you can find the wild variety which should contain more kick) with lemon juice, good extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.  Thereafter, place the tossed arugula on top of your hot pizza and enjoy (the heat from the pizza will wilt the greens a bit of marry cheese and tomato with arugula).  Enjoy with a crisp lager beer.

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