It's always tricky to wade into the topic of pizza, especially New York's iconic style of pie. People are passionate and opinionated about the thin, imminently foldable slices that can be found at pizzerias across the five boroughs. So, there are probably more than a few voices crying out that it is a foul dishonor to put any sort of condiment on a slice. Sheath your criticisms, as we're not talking about a cup of ranch or a few healthy dashes of hot sauce, though we're not knocking those either. For NY-style pizza, the best condiments are more traditional: parmesan, red pepper flakes, oregano, and maybe a little garlic powder.
While there may be some blowback from authentic pizza purists, there is no denying New York style is Italian in its heritage and flavors. It's also an exercise in austerity; this is not pizza loaded high with copious meats and veggies or a canvas for flavor fusion. New Yorkers hold a plain cheese slice in high regard and will occasionally entertain some pepperoni, sausage, a bit of onion, or some mushrooms. It's fitting then that the best condiments for New York-style pizza are common Italian ingredients that accentuate and elevate the pizza without obscuring its inherent beauty.
There's nothing gimmicky or flashy about these stalwart pizza toppings, but they're classics for a reason. Yes, some chains have hitched their wagons to signature condiments, such as Papa John's garlic sauce, but parmesan, red pepper, oregano, and garlic powder are ubiquitous at pizza parlors for a reason.
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Pizza's Condiment Kings
Parmesan -- and here we mean the powdered stuff that comes out of silver-topped glass shakers or foil-lined paper packets -- is quite possibly the quintessential pizza condiment. Long before people were dunking crusts in every conceivable condiment under the sun, they were dusting slices with this crumbly cheese product. It's perfect for a NY slice as it sticks to the wonderfully greasy top, adding both salt and a hit of umami that sets off the tang of the sauce. Just don't ask for it in Italy.
For heat seekers, red pepper flakes are the original pizza spice. Though lacking the vinegar and salt that hot sauce brings, a packet of red pepper flakes brings a pure form of heat that doesn't distract from the rich cheese and yeasty crust of a good New York-style pizza. No one knows for sure how long red pepper flakes have been a pizza staple, but chilis have been in Italy for hundreds of years.
Oregano and garlic powder are a bit less mainstream, but no less welcome. Oregano's fragrance adds an herbaceousness that makes the sauce sing. For its part, garlic powder blossoms atop a hot slice, lending a piquant and unique element. That said, treat your 'za how you see fit. Slather it in Sriracha, drizzle it with hot honey, or pile on the pickled peppers. Just don't expect to find a ramekin of ranch at Ray's.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.