What Is Deep-Fried Pizza?
In Scotland, fried foods are a way of life, from the national meal of fish and chips all the way to the national dessert of fried Mars® candy bars. Pizza is not forgotten either, as many so-called chip shops around the country have sold deep-fried pizza alongside other more common items for at least four decades — with or without the batter. This invention has a relative in the home of pizza, the pizza fritta of Napoli, Italy, which is a full pizza capped by another round of dough before being fried to a crisp with no batter in sight.
Deep-fried pizza is made in a few ways throughout Scotland. Though some are pan fried and others are more quickly browned in a proper deep-fryer, one commonality is the use of batter to coat the slices, or even whole pizzas, before frying. Many chefs double-dip the pizza, which should already be cooked before the process. For this reason, many use leftover pizza.
The type of batter used can greatly affect the final product. According to the FX Cuisine recipe Web site, most chefs will use the batter that is already been put together for making fish and chips. Though the ingredients may vary widely, a typical batter will be made of flour, water, baking powder, salt, pepper and other seasonings such as Old Bay®.; Perhaps the most prevalent substitution is beer for the water.
Sometimes chefs will dip a whole baked pizza in batter to make a deep-fried pizza that does not look all that different than a regular pizza, except for the batter coating. Most often, however, fish and chips establishments will coat and fry a slice at a time to order. Another variation is to quickly batter and deep fry a calzone, which takes up half the space in the fryer. Available with various traditional toppings like pepperoni, mushroom and onions, the Scottish version of deep-fried pizza is often served with chips, just like the fish.
According to National Geographic, Scotland is battering and frying up enough foods to fill a menu. Fish and chips, pizza and candy bars are just notable examples. Perhaps even more obscure, but just as unusual, are deep-fried ice cream or deep-fried fruit.
In Italy, batter is not even considered when making pizza fritta; leftover pizza does not enter into the equation either. Instead, chefs create a new small pizza, then top it with another disc of dough. After the edges are sealed, this deep-fried pizza can be gently dropped into oil for a quick crisping.
Fried foods tend to be unhealthy. Pizza tends to be unhealthy. How unhealthy is a fried pizza?
One would have thought fried pizza was something developed in the American South because we do love our deep fryers in these parts.
Still, it is clear that we got our love of fried foods from the Scots-Irish and Scottish immigrants who settled the South when this part of the country was considered the frontier region of the United States. When viewed in that context, the notion that people started frying pizza in Scotland makes sense.
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