A Culinary Leap
Swedish pizza? Really? Pizza is the most popular food in Sweden. There’s a pizza shop on just about every corner, home delivery is rare, but with pizza just a few steps away, why wait? Pizza shops are usually tiny, with one person manning the store and one pizza oven working super overtime. When Oli calls in his order the conversation might go something like this:
Pizza guy: “Hello, pizza place.”
Oli: ” Hi, I’d like to place an order.”
Pizza guy: “Oh, hello my friend, ordering a calzone today? Oversized with pineapple and chili? “
The guy in the pizza shop recognizes customers when they call and he knows what they like. Made to order pizza or calzones are always ready in 10 minutes and it takes just three minutes to walk there. All over Sweden pizza comes with a side of thinly sliced white cabbage dressed with white wine vinegar and oil seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and oregano. By the way, there is only one pizza chain in Sweden and they don’t deliver like they do in the states. Let’s hear it for the mom and pop places that know their customers and treat them like good friends!
There is a newspaper article on the internet about Swedish pizza toppings that would take most of us out of our pizza comfort zone. They all start life as a classic, thin crust tomato and cheese pizza and then things get funky. Ok, downright bizarre is more accurate. I’ll leave the research up to you but Oli and Swedish friends tell me that the newspaper article and other stories about the horrors of Swedish pizza are absolutely false. They have never heard of such bizarre combinations.
There are some unusual pizzas like a tomato and cheese with mushrooms, raisins, peanuts, banana and curry. Another Swedish favorite is a tomato and cheese pizza topped with Swedish meatballs, kebab meat, onion, bell peppers and salami. (Sounds good to me.) Another favorite is one with tenderloin topped with an egg. When done, it gets a lovely drizzle of béarnaise sauce.
I grew up with real Italian pizza – made by real Italians. When my friend Kevin first suggested ordering pizza with pineapple I couldn’t believe it. That was a mortal sin! But willing to give it a try, I found that it was a pleasant surprise.
Granted, some Swedish pizzas might stretch the boundaries of your pizza comfort zone, but the one we present today is typically Swedish, simple, kind of healthy and shouldn’t make you stray too far into the dark side of the Swedish pizza world. Pizza under a salad is Oli’s favorite.
Hey, lots of people have salad with pizza. This recipe just puts the salad on top of the finished pizza and then takes it in an interesting culinary direction, with a drizzle of not béarnaise, but a zingy chili yogurt sauce.
Come on, you have to start somewhere. Go ahead. Take this simple culinary leap. . .
Pizza Under a Salad
Makes an 11-inch pizza
Start by making a thin crust pizza dough. Our dough recipe requires over night refrigeration, so plan accordingly.
Yogurt Chili Sauce
3/4 cup plain Greek or Turkish yogurt
1/4 cup Heinz Chili Sauce
1. This is a no brainer. Just combine the yogurt and chili sauce in a bowl and mix.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
roughly cut cucumber (about 2 ounces)
small yellow bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
roughly cut salad greens of your choice (Romaine or arugula are popular in Sweden.)
3 ounces of smoked ham, cut into strips
Toss vegetables and ham into a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
The next step is to make a thin crust tomato and cheese pizza.
When the pizza is out of the oven top it with your salad, give the yogurt chili sauce a stir and drizzle it on top.