...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Food journal number 15: Pizza, continued

Before I forget, here's the second installment for the pizza entry. This time, I will talk about the so-called pizza salad, and our attempts at making homemade pizza.

According to that museum exhibit I told you about the last time, both pizza and pizza salad (picture above) were introduced to Sweden at about the same time. Östergök, the first restaurant to offer pizza in Stockholm (and in the whole of Scandinavia, for that matter) came up with such a salad so that guests--most of whom probably never had a pizza before and was apprehensive about eating something other than Swedish food--could nibble and chat while waiting for their pizzas to bake. The salad was a hit and has since then become a staple in all pizzerias around Sweden. You even get a little container of salad when you order a pizza for take out, and older people even prefer to eat their salads on the pizza!

If you're curious on how it tastes like and would like to make some yourself, a pizza salad is basically just made out of cabbage (about half a kilo for a recipe) that has been cut into thin, small strips, blanched and drained, and some thin strips of red bellpepper. You then knead some dressing (2T olive oil, 1T vinegar and 2T vinegar) into the veggies and put the whole lot into an airtight bag to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. It's hard to work the dressing in the cabbage, BTW, especially if the strips are too thick; other recipes suggest using a pestle for this instead of kneading with hands, and others suggest kneading the bag with the contents instead. For thinner cabbage strips though, you probably have to use a kitchen aid.

My own attempt at making pizza salad was unsuccessful--and if you can buy it, it's really not worth the work. I made a mistake of chilling the salad in an open bowl for too long, and the cabbage turned light brown. Though it seemed edible, it certainly didn't look very enticing... Oh well.

On the other hand, attempts at making homemade pizza were more successful. One our first attempt, we cheated by using instant pizza dough brought from the grocery. It was expensive and not so satisfying so we "upgraded" with the second attempt, which we did when we were at Mats and Margareta's. There we used a recipe for plain bread buns, and just rolled it out flat to fit the oven pan. It was also important, we read, to keep the sauce simmering for a long time, and it made the pizza more delicious.


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