Comfort food doesn’t get a lot better than warm melted cheese served on a crunchy bread crust – which is why it should come as no surprise that, wherever you are in the world, you’ll find the locals serving up their very own version of pizza.
This inside-out pizza from Turkey is super easy to make. Take a stroll down any of the main streets in Istanbul and you’ll find the ‘crust’ being rolled out to form a thin sheet of bread dough the size of a couple of dinner plates. A filling of salty cheese is piled onto half the crust and topped with traditional pizza ingredients such as shaved meats, tomato slices, onion and olives. The crust is folded in half, sealed at the edges, painted with olive oil, and grilled on both sides. Traditionally, it’s cut into slices before being served.
Italian Potato Pizza
We all know the Italians are tops when it comes to pizza, but what few people realise is that this national dish comes cheese-less as well! Potato-topped pizza uses the same crispy-thin crust as regular Margherita, but after being rolled out, the dough is brushed with olive oil and covered with a layer of par-boiled potato, with each slice overlapping the next. Finally, a scattering of rock salt is sprinkled over, a few sprigs of fresh oregano or thyme are layed on top, and the whole shebang is drizzled with olive oil. Into the oven it goes until the crust and topping is browned. While pizza con patate is enjoyed by everyone, it can be a life-saver if you are entertaining a vegan dinner guest.
Georgia, in the Caucasus, is home to the cheesy delight known as Khachapuri (forget the ‘K’ and you’ll be pronouncing this pizza correctly). It comes in two main forms. The first is a deliciously stodgy ‘envelope’ of golden bread crust, folded over to encase a filling of melted, salty, Georgian cheese. Equally in demand is a golden boat-shaped crust filled in the centre with melted, salty cheese topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Georgians can’t get enough of both, picking them up on their way to and from work from tiny bakeries that open out onto the street. Khachapuri is the country’s national dish, and wherever you walk in the cities there, you’ll find the population chowing down on these unusual pizzas for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Chicago’s deep dish pizza
Imagine a high-sided pie crust except that, in this instance, the crust is made from bread dough and not pastry. Now imagine this crust filled with a thick layer of cheese followed by heapings of mushroom, pepper, olive and onion. As you can guess, cooking this hefty dish takes time, so to prevent the ingredients burning or drying out, a layer of crushed canned tomato is spooned over the top before the pizza is placed in the oven. And if you’re thinking ‘soggy crust’, you’re wrong. To keep the pizza base crispy, the pan it is cooked in is painted with a heavy dose of oil. De-lish!