Wednesday, March 9, 2011
To honor the Queen, a local chef created a pizza in the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil. It became known as the Pizza Margherita.
At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, Justin of South Pasadena decided he wanted to eat several Margherita pizzas at home to decide which he liked best.
The first one was a Pizza Romana frozen pizza I picked up from the outstanding Roma Market up on Lake Ave. Claiming to be made in Italy, this pizza was thin crust with just a slight dusting of cheese. I cooked the pizza in the oven for only a few minutes and then chopped up some fresh basil and topped the pizza with it.
The crust was outstanding for a frozen pizza but there wasn't much flavor in the cheese and sauce. Overall though, it was very high quality and I enjoyed it. Next time I cook one of these (and I definitely will) I will add some sprinkles of fresh cheese to it and at least another handful of basil.
Then I remembered I had frozen cubes of basil in the freezer, those little things from Trader Joe's that I bought months ago and haven't used. I defrosted a few of them and sprinkled them over the pizza. They tasted good but of course are no substitute for fresh basil.
The sauce is good on this pizza but that is the only thing I enjoyed: the crust was flavorless, the cheese was watery and it needed more basil. It may seem surprising that a frozen pizza from TJ's tastes fresher and more flavorful than a "fresh" pizza, but that is the case.
As an appetizer for two or three people, I see the value in this pizza, but not as a main meal.
Surprisingly, shockingly, the crust and sauce were absolutely delicious, possibly the best of any of the pizzas I had during this experiment. Not surprisingly, the cheese was a watery, flavorless mess and the tomatoes were disgusting. That may sound strange coming from me, since I already loathe tomatoes, but these were as bad as you can get: soggy little bombs that distracted from every single bite.
The companion pizza I bought was an "extra pepperoni" version, and it was outstanding; it had the same crust and sauce but much better toppings. This Margherita was just bad.
After a few minutes in the oven - slightly more than 9 - I removed it. It also smelled like the Trader Joe's pizza. But it didn't taste as good. I had no more basil to add, and that would have helped, but overall this was a just a bland pizza with lousy crust.
I know it's almost impossible to make good frozen pizza, which is why I rarely eat it anymore; I usually use fresh dough and make my own pies. But I wanted to try these to see if any of them were good. The only two I will ever try again are the Pizza Romana and Trader Joe's frozen pizzas
Posted by JustinM at 11:30 AM