Pizza Today - November 2017 - 36

T

he art of owning an
independent restaurant
in today's world of
high food costs and
corporate saturation
is a tough balancing
act. For some of us,
researching, sourcing, producing and
marketing a new product is a costly affair
that leads some of us to say: "I've got my
one crust style, my red sauce, two cheeses
and 12 toppings -- that's all my customers look for." The problem with this menu
"inertia" is that customers today have
become savvier about food and the large
chains are accommodating them with
specialty sauces, cheeses and toppings.
I've realized that to stay competitive in
my small town, I must have the knowledge of different food combinations to
elevate my game. To do this, I started
with questioning the basic anatomy of
my pizza.
* Sauce. Is the sauce sweet or bitter,
acidy or savory, spicy or even pungently
bitter, fluid or chunky? Does the quantity
complement the pizza or overwhelm,
soak or even make the cheese slide off ?
* Crust. Is this a pre-fermented dough
that has a back-of-the-throat tang of a
naturally yeasted aged sourdough, or is
this a sponge and char profile of a true
Neapolitan crust? Does it have the heavy,
molasses overtones of an ancient grain
taste that emmer or spelt exhibit or a
less-hydrated, crispy thin crust either
on the grill or not. Could it be the crisp
and cheesy razor-like crust guarding the
spongy center of a par-cooked Detroit or
just a dough made directly from frozen?
* Cheese. Does it even have cheese?
If so, how much? Is the cheese stringy
for the benefit of a nice chew or are its
attributes more geared toward flavor like
a melting lake of Gorgonzola or Stilton.
Can the cheese withstand the high heat?
Or will it have to be added in the middle
of the bake or even after the oven?

Tomato Sauces
This has much more to do about quality than anything else. Tomato sauces can
3 6 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7

come in chunky style, filet, whole peeled
pear and whole peeled plum tomatoes. In
my opinion, there are sauce companies
that use tomatoes too old for quality
sauce by adding copious amounts of
sugar, paste and even water. I think the
best tomatoes are from family-run companies that pack the tomatoes just hours
after picking. Too much heat may ruin a
good tomato sauce whereas caramelizing
fresh cherry tomatoes in a hot oven adds
a depth of flavor to the sauce. Fresh
tomatoes during the summer season are
not to be missed and farmers practically
give them away during the tomato "glut."
You can modify your tomato sauces
with spices like: cumin; coriander; fennel (roasted seed and pollen); paprika;
Za'atar; chilies; bay leaf; dill; Allspice;
celery salt; curry; coconut milk; chervil;
oregano; thyme; honey; hot sauce; wasabi;
cream; ground anchovy paste; caper;
bell pepper puree; cilantro; lime; lemon;
horseradish; ginger; garlic; onion powder;
fish sauce; caramelized onion; basil pesto;
Gochujang; chipotle in Adobo; mint;
parsley; sugar and, of course, basil.
Cheeses that accompany tomato sauces
run a wide gambit because of the sweetness and acidity in the tomato. I've found
that strong goat and sheep's milk cheeses
grated after the oven can transform a
tomato pie into something special, but
the combination of sweet tomato and a
creamy mozzarella "stretch" is the all-time
fave. Other cheeses include: Pecorino
Romano; Fior di Latte mozzarella; Bufala
mozzarella; provolone; ricotta; ricotta
salata; feta; chevre; Grana Padano; burrata; Fiore Sardo; Roncal (Spanish sheeps
milk); pepper jack; Bel Paese; Shanklish;
Asiago; Brick cheese; Neufchatel; fontina;
Robiola, Caciocavallo and mozzaralla
curd.
Here are some examples of methods to
transform a tomato sauce into something
new:
* Onions. Roasting onions with a dry
powder, oil or water, then grinding them
up and incorporating into a tomato sauce
is a fast and easy transformational method. Onions roasted in your pizza oven
with Adobo and chipotle peppers with

cumin and garlic powder turn a chunky
tomato sauce into a spicy Mexican sauce
for chicken, beef or sausage served with
tortilla chips, lettuce and tomato.
* Vegetable combinations. The great
Puerto Rican dish of "Soffrito" can easily
be achieved by roasting onions, green
peppers, garlic cloves, jalapeños and
chunky tomatoes in your pizza oven. This
is perfect finished with lots of cilantro
on a chicken, shrimp or pork pizza with
cheddar, mozzarella or even Asiago
cheese.
* Asian flavors. An easy Thai flavor
profile can be cooked into a tomato sauce
using coconut milk, fish sauce, garlic,
ginger, lemon grass, red curry paste and
a little peanut butter. You can cook this
sauce with shrimp or simmer with ground
pork for a flavorful, thick Thai sauce
served with cilantro, scallion and peanuts.

Cream Sauces
I once knew a chef that said the only
way to get to heaven was to make a Sauce
Mornay as well as he did. He did have a
point. His sauce rocked every night. The
variety of cream sauces are as wide as the
use you can get from the final product.
Most pizzerias without oven ranges are
bound by circumstances to buy either
canned or sealed, bagged and frozen
Alfredo-type products, which start as
flour warmed and bound by butter and
cream into a sauce. In my pizzeria, we've
learned to modify numerous sauces for
presentation before and after the oven.
Here are some ingredients to modify
your existing cream sauces: Parmigiano;
Romano; feta; Gorgonzola; tomato sauce
(kind of like Sauce Aurore); basil pesto;
hot sauce; lemon zest and juice; orange
marmalade; onion puree (Sauce Soubise);
curry; tarragon; basil; cream fraiche;
ricotta; mushroom stock or base; paprika;
nutmeg; cayenne; clams and juice; parlsey;
fennel seed; cumin; chipotle; mascarpone;
sautéed leek, porcini powder and olives.
Try these cheeses to enhance cream
sauces: mozzarella; Taleggio; Brie (after
oven); provolone; Grana Padano; Parmigiano; burrata; colby; Munster; Tomme;
Caciocavallo; Camembert (after oven);


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Pizza Today - November 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - November 2017

Pizza Today - November 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
At Your Service
Destinations
Knead to Know
Menu Boards
Sauce & Cheese Pairings
Open-Faced Sandwiches
Mac & Cheese Main Dishes
Customer Demographics
Immigration Enforcement
Forced Closure
Road to Pizza Expo
Top 100 Pizza Chains
On the Road: Fire!, Spokane, Wa
On the Road: The Boiler Room, Spokane, Wa
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Mike’s Monthy Tip
Pizza Today - November 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - November 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Pizza Today - November 2017
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - November 2017 - At Your Service
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Menu Boards
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Sauce & Cheese Pairings
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 36
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Open-Faced Sandwiches
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 40
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Mac & Cheese Main Dishes
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 44
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Customer Demographics
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 48
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Immigration Enforcement
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 52
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Forced Closure
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 56
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Road to Pizza Expo
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 60
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 61
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Top 100 Pizza Chains
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 64
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - November 2017 - On the Road: Fire!, Spokane, Wa
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 67
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - November 2017 - On the Road: The Boiler Room, Spokane, Wa
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 72
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 81
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 82
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 83
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 84
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 85
Pizza Today - November 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 87
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 88
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 89
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 90
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 91
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 92
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 93
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 94
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 95
Pizza Today - November 2017 - 96
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Mike’s Monthy Tip
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - November 2017 - Cover4
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