Flat breads topped with olive oil and herbs had been consumed around the Mediterranean Sea for centuries before the discovery of the American Continent, which brought tomatoes into the picture. Europeans were slow to accept this Mexican contribution – thought to be poisonous – but once they had the courage to try them, tomatoes became an important ingredient in many European dishes, and in particular, modern Italian cuisine could not be imagined without them. The modern pizza, traditionally called Neapolitan pizza, was probably created sometime in the 17th Century, and may be described as a flat bread topped with crushed tomato and mozzarella cheese; the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana has a set of rules and specifications on how to make VPN – Verace Pizza Napoletana (true Neapolitan pizza); in addition to tomato and mozzarella, only a few ingredients were chosen to grace the top of a VPN pizza: garlic, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil (for Marinara pizza) or Fior di latte, extra-virgin olive oil, basil and grated hard cheese (for Margherita pizza.) The latter was popularized in 1889, a few years after the unification of the Italian regions as the Kingdom of Italy, allegedly inspired by the visit to Naples of King Umberto and Queen Margherita, where they requested pizza, a peasant’s dish at the time. Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi came up with a selection of pizzas, in particular one topped with basil and extra-virgin olive oil in addition to tomato and mozzarella cheese, and this selection is now called pizza Margherita or Margarita pizza. However, around Italy and the world, many restaurants and locations have embraced their own versions, adding more toppings (such as mayonnaise in Japan or eggs in Australia), choosing different thicknesses (thin New York style, or deep-dish Chicago style, as two examples), and even different shapes (Sicilian pizza is rectangular). In Mexico, Happy’s Pizza, located in Mexico City, claims to be the first pizzeria in the country, founded in 1969; according to El Conocedor, the three most popular pizza flavours in Mexico are: Hawaiian (ham and pineapple, created in Chatham, Ontario in 1962), pepperoni (popularized in New York City in the first half of the 20th Century) and more recently, Mexican Style, with Mexican chorizo and jalapeño peppers, as shown at the top of this post.
My recipe also includes refried beans, as I remember them on a pizza I shared with my husband during his first visit to Mexico City, back in the 1990s. Another peculiarity of many Mexican pizzerias is the bottles of Worcestershire sauce on their tables; I introduced that practice to my family at home, and my husband and one of my daughters liked it (my other daughter is vegetarian, and does not consume Worcestershire sauce at all, since anchovies are listed as an ingredient.)
Mexican Style Pizza – Pizza Mexicana
Ingredients (for two medium pizzas)
1 lb (454 g) fresh pizza dough (homemade is great; I make mine in the bread maker; store bought is also good)
1 cup tomato sauce (I like plain passata, but pizza sauce or Marinara are also good options)
1 cup refried beans (see my recipe or canned)
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Mexican chorizo, cooked and crumbled (pork or plant based)
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, sliced
Worcestershire sauce (to serve)
Divide dough in half; with each half, form a disc by pulling and turning dough by hand (I like them thin, but it is to taste, so the diameter will vary). Place discs on a baking sheet or two pizza trays, lined with parchment paper. Spread half the tomato sauce and half the refried beans on each dough disc (photo below, left); top with half the grated cheese, then spread half the chorizo and finish by arranging pepper slices all over each pizza (photo below, right):
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake pizzas for 20-25 minutes, until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling:
Slice into wedges and serve immediately, with a bottle of Worcestershire sauce on the side:
When I was in Culiacan visiting my family, we went to an Italian restaurant (Maggiore, 500 Diego Valadez Blvrd.), which had a terrace with a serene view of the Tamazula River. The landscape looks unkept in the photo below because of a union dispute with the City at the time (April 2019); the keepers had stopped grooming parks and paths to bring awareness to the public:
The kitchen at Maggiore restaurant uses a stone oven (photo below, left), and our pizza “La Sinaloense” (Sinaloa style) came nicely charred, topped with refried beans like in my recipe, but had local chilorio and ham instead of chorizo, and two cheeses (photo below, right):
All these Mexican toppings go so well on pizza! I wonder if it is because of the original Mexican contribution to pizza, the sine qua non tomato. On the other hand, Worcestershire sauce is good too, and that, I cannot explain.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #389 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance, Pam @ An Artful Mom and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.