I have previously written about strange crusts before, like the pie-like Chicago deep dish pizza. But a deep-fried-from-here-until-eternity pizza dough, topped like a traditional Napolitana? This makes me think that this – just this – could be the ultimate late night pizza.
The History of the Montanara Pizza
Antonio Starita, somewhat regarded as a living legend in the pizza industry of Naples, introduced the Montanara on U.S. soil back in 2007, at a fair in New Jersey. But the Montanara pizza made a bigger impact in the US when Forcella opened its doors in Williamsburg, New York City years later in 2011. Soon after came La Montanara, whose menu was exclusively centered around the deep fried delicacy.
At its opening, Forcella was the only pizzeria in the country who served this kind of pizza. They chose to model themselves after just a handful of pizzerias in Naples that made pizza in this style. So you can say that this was the most well-kept drunken food-secret out there.
Is it even possible to deep fry a pizza?
Yes, thanks to ingenious Italians who couldn’t boast having a wood-burning oven at home. Turns out, the oil is a perfect transferrer for heat. That means frying the dough at 190 Celsius reaches the temperature of a very hot oven.
Which is awesome.
A Montanara pizza is still a tad bit different from the fried pizzas of Naples, better known as pizze fritta. Maybe because the pizze fritta resembles more of a calzone than anything.
Wives of pizza makers would take leftover dough from their husbands, fry it and top it with a bit of leftover ragu and Parmesan or Romano cheese. They’d serve it to their families, but some of them would also sell it as street food in Naples to bring in some extra cash.