So I’m prepping a pizza, thinking I’d make it several ways, with three flavor zones to accomodate the various palates in our household: 3 year old Desmond would take the cheese-only spot. 6 year old Violet would get the sage and onion. Aimee and I would eat the anchovy and red pepper flake part. So I finish prepping the pizza, topping it, put it in the oven. Then the kids see me cleaning up, putting away the extra anchovies. They ask me what they are: I say, little fish. They say the want them. I give them each a piece. And they loved them, tiny briny bones and all. Granted these weren’t the cruddy little metallic flavored fish that likely turned off entire generations, but some jarred stuff from the great L.A. food shop Jones on Third. They couldn’t get enough, either straight or on the pizza. Moral of the story: Even if you think they won’t like something, give them a chance. Don’t cook down to your children. If you do, you might be depriving them of their favorite food, the one they haven’t met yet. I know my kids are anchovy freaks now, and I couldn’t have predicted it.
The Picky Foodie Family 3-Zone Pizza:
(Anchovy, red pepper flake, and white onion; sage and black pepper; plain cheese)
We’ve gotten into the habit of making multiple zone pizzas like this one. Think of it as a sort of tasting menu of pizzas, or “trio of pizzas” to use restaurant parlance. In reality it can either satisfy everyone or introduce picky eaters to new flavors, as it did in this case.
For the pizza base:
1 premade pizza dough (ever happy to cheat, we use Trader Joe’s premade pizza dough. The white, NOT the wheat)
2 cups shredded mozzarella or quattro formaggio
for zone one:
5 oil packed anchovies (preferably the jarred kind from Spain or Italy) chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion
a generous pinch red pepper flakes
for zone two:
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion (sweeter types like maui onions usually don’t get much of a complaint)
5 fresh sage leaves, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
many generous grindings of fresh black pepper (okay, preferably tellicherry, but that’s going a bit too far)
for zone three:
just the cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Stretch the dough out into a free form rustic rectangular shape on a olive oiled baking sheet. This might take a bit of manipulation and time, but it’s important to make it as thin and wide as possible. Spread cheese thinly allover. Top the 3 zones as described above. Bake 20 minutes or so until it’s as gorgeous as you’d like it to be. You know, brown and crispy on the edges, and everything else bubbling and happy.
Easy side dish:
on a separate baking sheet, on the lower rack of the oven, add a bit of olive oil, a mess of broccolini, chopped garlic, salt and pepper, toss, and then roast at the same time. This might take 10-15 minutes. Stir with tongs midway through. We like them charred a bit.