I want to give you all a gift. It’s that time of year, after all. Taste, beauty, aroma, thrift; this gift has it all. As a big thank you to keeping me company on the big old internet for this past year I want to give you all the gift of…
It’s more exciting than it sounds.
Stick with me and I’ll prove it. But first?
You should know I am devoted to pizza. I could happily eat some variation of it three days out of the week (Publicly speaking that is. In my own head I admit I could eat it five days a week and be perfectly content. Oh. Did I type that? I meant to think it.) Crispy crusts, gooey cheese, salty toppings, and garlic; flecked all over with charred bits and molten marinara sauce. Is my preoccupation any wonder?
For all my love of fresh, hot pizza, I used to think I disliked leftover pizza (and as I type that sentence I can hear my Dad yelling, “WHAT? What is wrong with my child?” all the way from the Yoop.) To me, the great appeal* of pizza is threefold; melted cheese, crispy crust bottom, and a chewy-yet-soft inner crust.
*Allo! Allo? Iz ziss sing on? Pizza a-peal? Pizza peal? This is what my boys call a ‘get it?’ joke.
Now. Raise your hand if you think you dislike reheated pizza. It’s okay. I’m not judging. Because until a few years ago I thought I disliked it, too. My problem was the texture of pizza after it was reheated in the microwave or in the oven. It seemed a pale shadow of its former glory; gummy or congealed cheese, muddy flavors, and soggy crusts if reheated in the oven. Or worse yet -if microwaved to hot- almost inedibly chewy crust and translucent cheese that was unevenly melted. Gaggy.
I stumbled upon a way to reheat pizza that makes the leftover pizza better than the fresh pizza ever was. Hence: Better Than Yesterday Pizza. (This may seem like a tangent, but it’s important.) My Dad always makes grilled cheeses by toasting the sandwiches then tossing a little water in the pan and covering it to make sure the cheese is melted and gooey all the way through. One day, many moons ago, while staring down the barrel of a fridge laden with cold, leftover pizza it occured to me that Dad’s method might just make it edible.
It was more than edible. It was sublime. So good that it is the only way we’ve reheated leftover pizza since. And let me tell you something. Perfectly melted and gooey cheese, hot interior, crackling crisp bottom crust and a top dotted with crunchy charred bits make this so good it’s better than the original pizza. In fact, I deliberately make double the amount of pizza we can eat on pizza nights just so we can eat Better Than Yesterday Pizza.
A word of caution, though. This process lands you with a piece of pizza that is fresh and hot and well-nigh irresistible. But oh, try to resist. It’s pizza oven hot. And if, like me, you dive straight into eating, you can kiss the skin on the roof of your mouth goodbye. Here are the instructions. I’m going to go suck on some ice cubes. Right after I eat this other piece of pizza.
Better Than Yesterday Pizza
You will need a heavy cast-iron or non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid.
Ingredients per slice:
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (you can substitute canola oil, but olive oil has the best taste here.)
- 1 slice cold, leftover pizza
- 1 teaspoon water
Place a heavy cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Add the oil to the pan and swirl until hot and evenly coated. Place slice of pizza, topping side DOWN in the pan.
Allow to cook for one minute (longer for more charred bits).
After one minute, carefully slide a spatula under the pizza and flip crust side down.
Add the teaspoon of water and immediately place the lid on the pan. Cook for an additional minute.
Remove the lid and cook for one to one and a half minutes or until all water has cooked off and the bottom crust is crispy. Transfer to a plate. If desired, sprinkle with crushed red pepper plates to complete the pizzeria taste and experience!