When I was a kid, we generally ate pizza for dinner every Friday. To this day, I have no explanation as to why this was the case (other than the fact that we're Italian and lived in New York, home to some of the best pizza in the nation) but I certainly wasn't complaining at the time. I was actually never a huge fan of the cheese (crazy, I know) but I loved a crispy, well done crust with just enough sauce, a sprinkling of cheese and some sort of meat on top (crispy prosciutto or ham is my favorite but I certainly wouldn't turn away sausage or pepperoni).
Cut to 20 years later and I still absolutely love pizza but, unfortunately, it's had to become more of a delicacy than a weekly staple. The fact of the matter is, it's gotten a little tougher to stay in shape while downing a day's worth of carbs in a single meal. When I stumbled upon Jackie Alpers' blog, Jackie's Happy Plate, I was immediately drawn to her recipe for low carb pizza. It's definitely not pizza in the traditional sense because it is completely devoid of a grain-based crust - and that's the beauty of it. The base of Jackie's version of pizza is a frico, or melted cheese crisp, making it low in carbs and also high in protein. It's also great for those looking to limit their gluten intake.
Check out Jackie's recipe for a crustless pizza on her blog, Jackie's Happy Plate.
Some variations on her recipe might include using low fat cheese for those of you who are watching your fat intake (sometimes low fat cheese doesn't melt as well as regular cheese, so, you'll have to adjust preparation accordingly), adding a few dollops of low fat ricotta cheese on top for a creamier consistency, adding some additional, lean meats of your choice on top and even spooning some tomato sauce on top of the cheese mid-way through cooking. Of course, the tomato sauce will add a few additional carbs to the meal but will also bring some additional flavor into the mix.
While we're talking pizza, I thought it was appropriate to list (in no particular order) a few of my favorite places to grab a slice (or a whole pie) of good old, carby, traditional pizza - if you're going to indulge, the places below will make you feel like it was all worth it! Yeah, abs are admirable but so is being "in-the-know" as to where to take a date for a great slice!
1. Joe's Pizza, NYC - an institution here in Greenwich Village, and, conveniently, right up the street from the Ernest Supplies office
2. Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles - my LA outpost for great pizza. Unlike Joe's above, Mozza takes pizza to a gourmet level
3. Pepe's Pizza, New Haven, CT - an institution in New Haven and, occasionally, voted the best pizza in the nation
4. Sally's Apizza, New Haven, CT - half of New Haven will tell you that Sally's is the best in town (the other half will name Pepe's)
4. Lombardi's, NYC - America's first pizzeria and one of NYC's most famous
5. Gjelina, Los Angeles (Venice) - nothing traditional about this pizza. The chorizo, tomato cream and fennel is over the top
6. Grimaldi's, Brooklyn - yeah you'll wait in line for an hour but it's all worth it