Not that the matter is settled, but after all these years, can’t we agree that it’s time to move on? Because there’s a potentially divisive new pie making its way onto menus across the country that deserves our attention: ladies and gentlemen of the social media debate stage, I give you pickle pizza. To converse.
Regardless of how you feel about this development in human history, it might be time to prepare your talking points. Pickle pie is having a moment.
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It’s a new food this year at state fairs in Minnesota and Indiana, and ads about it have attracted the attention of the local media and the oglers of social networks. Pickles have also been showing up among the more traditional offerings at pizzerias, from chains to chef pizzerias. Most often served over a white or ranch sauce instead of the classic red, pickles are proving to be more than just a novelty in the pizza topping game.
“There’s a nice sweet, tangy, and spicy bite,” says Rachael Jennings, who recently opened her own pizzeria, Boogy & Peel, in Washington after years as chef at sizzling Rose’s Luxury. Pickles are the star of her Big Mac-inspired cake, which pairs a version of the fast-food icon’s special sauce (spoiler alert: it’s basically Thousand Island dressing, she says) with American cheese and ground beef. Out of the scorching oven, the pie is topped with crisp iceberg lettuce, white onion slices, lots of extra special sauce, and house-made pickles.
Jennings acknowledges that her cakes, whose style she calls “neo-neo-Neapolitan,” aren’t even close to traditional. “If you took this to your grandmother in Sicily, she would spit in your face,” says Jennings. “But, like, try it and tell me it’s not tasty.”
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Many pickle-loving fans would agree that pickles have earned their place in the pantheon of dips. While there’s no definitive history of pickle pizza, a Nexis news search indicates that after making a rare appearance in a handful of restaurants over the years, they started getting more attention around 2018.
That year, a video of a pickle pizza being made in New York City went viral, and Al Roker and his “Today” gang bravely tried a pickle pie to get yuck on screen: theirs came from Rhino’s Pizzeria. in upstate New York. , who was promoted as the inventor of the creation.
Since then, it’s taken off at a handful of state fairs, including in Ohio, Florida and West Virginia, as well as the Calgary Stampede, places where inventive food thrives. The pickle pizza, however, seems to be a rising star.
An early innovator was Dennis Schneekloth, owner of QC Pizza, which has two locations in Minnesota and specializes in quirky recipes (think avocado toast and crab rangon-inspired pies). He was brainstorming ideas for his latest wacky offering and came up with the idea of making a pizza based on a popular delicacy in the state, the pickle roll, sometimes called Minnesota sushi. That snack includes pickles covered in cream cheese and wrapped in a slice of ham.
“I posted it on a Facebook group and people were like, ‘No way, that sounds terrible,'” he says. “But I had a feeling about it.”
After a few tweaks and fresh pickles that could withstand the 500-degree heat of their ovens, Schneekloth found what he determined was a winning combination. Its base is a white sauce with a garlic and dill accent, topped with pickles, mozzarella and Canadian bacon strips smoked for 48 hours. Because it makes its pizza Quad City-style, a lesser-known genre of pie named for its origins in the four-city region in Iowa and Illinois, most of the toppings go under the cheese (a final garnish of more pickles and fresh cheese). dill tops it all), and the pizza is cut into strips, not wedges.
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He proved his Facebook friends wrong: customers loved it. She gained international attention when the FoodBeast blog featured her creation in 2019.
“It just blew up,” he remembers. “I was featured in UK newspapers.” She now sells her frozen pizzas at the Goldbelly food delivery service and drives a Mercedes Sprinter van covered in images of pickles.
Since then, it has seen many more pickle tarts sprout. “More power to them,” she says.
He’s back in R&D mode, working on a deep-dish pickle pizza he calls Mega Dill. “If I can perfect this, people will buy it,” she says.
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At Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Company in Vernon Hills, Ill., pickle pizza was a recent special menu item. Graeme Nyland, the restaurant’s general manager, said the creation was a team effort. He had defended it, pointing out the mile-long lines for the pickled pizza stand at the Wisconsin State Fair, thinking they could do it in a more lofty way.
Slyce’s version used extra virgin olive oil and garlic as a base, topped with ham, tomato slices, and house-made English cucumber pickles. A drizzle of chili oil finished it off. Nyland appreciates the culinary qualities of the star ingredient and its divisive appeal.
“It just has that nice sour punch that sets things off,” he says. “Pickles are the kind of thing that people either love or hate, and there are more who love them.”