Pizza: Evolved

Good Bite

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAY 5, 2017

Technically, pizza has existed in the land now called Italy since 987 BCE, and for hundreds of years the term was a catch-all for all sorts of flatbreads and focaccias topped with vegetables and meat. But most today wouldn’t recognize these ancestral pizzas, lacking a single crucial ingredient—a ripe red fruit from the New World called the tomato. It took European kitchens and customers quite a while to figure out the tomato wasn’t poisonous (as many members of the nightshade family are), but when they did, the response was overwhelming. By the 1700s, the modern pizza was born and purists in Naples declared it the pinnacle of pizza evolution, with no need for further toppings. Needless to say, these purists never had a prosciutto pizza at Oak & Stone. Starting with hand-stretched dough and fresh tomato sauce, the chefs at Oak & Stone immediately depart from the purist convention with a layer of garlic spinach, to be topped with shredded mozzarella. Adding slices of roasted red pepper, the pizza is wood-fired before adding a finishing layer of ripped prosciutto, Ricotta impastata and chopped parsley. Purists may howl, but everyone else has their mouth full.

Photo courtesy of Oak & Stone.

Oak & Stone, 5405 University Pkwy. #101, Sarasota, 941-225-4590.

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