When you hear the words "fried pizza," there's a good chance you immediately imagine a greasy cheese pie wearing a crispy coat of Kentucky-fried crust. But it turns out fried pizza, at least traditional fried pizza, is closer to typical oven-baked pizza than you'd think. But because fried pizza trades a long stay in the oven for a quick dip in the deep frier, can you still technically call it pizza?
In the latest episode of Thrillist's new show, Really Dough?, host Scott Wiener sets out to see if fried pizza fits within the super-strict definition of pizza established by co-host and noted pizza purist Mark Iacono of Brooklyn's Lucali pizzeria. Mark is a stickler for traditional, wood-fired oven-baked pizza and has already ruled that boundary-pushing pies like ramen pizza, gold pizza, dessert pizza, and pizza bagels are simply "not pizza," so Scott isn't exactly sure how he'll react as he heads to Keste in Lower Manhattan to sample some of Chef Roberto Caporuscio's famous Montanara fried pizza.
As Roberto explains, his fried pizza is made by lightly frying regular pizza dough, then topping it with Starita tomato sauce, imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, and basil. He finishes it in a wood-fired oven and the result is a hot and bubbly Neapolitan pizza masterpiece. After one bite, Scott is convinced: it's pizza and there's no questioning that. The fried pizza does, however, challenge what most people (*cough* Mark *cough*) think a pizza should be -- dough that's topped with sauce and cheese, then baked. With that said, it's time for Mark to weigh in over a slice.
Will fried pizza be the first pie on the show to get a "yes" verdict out of Mark? Will he go so far as to say that it is indeed pizza? Check out the full episode (shown above) to find out.