As soon as I read about this “pizza with a twist,” I knew I had to try it. Lemons on pizza– what a natural for me, two of my favorite foods combined. But would it really be as good as it looked?
This recipe for “Pizza Sorrentina” (created by a fourth-generation pizzaiola in Naples for her mother Rosaria, who loved lemons) in the Wall Street Journal, gives directions for a homestyle version of the Naples-style crust, using 00 (doppio zero) flour, a very finely ground flour producing a tender and puffy crust. You bake it in an oven set to 550 degrees (pizza in Naples is baked in wood-fired ovens that reach 950 degrees).
I don’t usually use the 00 flour for pizza, but I happened to have some so I did something that I very rarely do and followed the recipe. I also never buy smoked mozzarella, but this time I did that too. And I soaked thin lemon slices in water for 15 minutes, just like the recipe said.
I have to say, this pizza was just terrific! Soaking the lemon slices meant that the peel was chewable, not hardened, and the sharp clean flavor of the lemons contrasted beautifully with the smoked cheese.
Will I make it again? Sure, but I probably won’t follow the recipe to the letter next time. My regular pizza dough is a little different than this recipe, but I like it just as well. And I might use a different cheese, or another herb besides basil (though the basil is very good). However, I’ll definitely keep the lemons and I’ll definitely soak the lemon slices!
Want to read more about pizza? My press, Reaktion, has Pizza: A Global History as part of its Edible Series. Did you know that pizza wasn’t really an “Italian” food outside of Naples until well after World War II?