My brother and I were born one day and four years apart—he’s April 9 and I’m April 10—so we always have a combined birthday party. For my 20th and his 16th our Mom had the brilliant idea to host a huge deep-fried dinner—meaning that we deep fried everything on God’s green earth. Several of those foods were a taste bud revelation (deep-fried Oreos and tofu in particular), but there was one item on the menu that I was especially excited about because it was actually British.
Some people fault the Scots for their cuisine, and with specialties like haggis and salty porridge, it’s understandable. However, they have done the world a tremendous favor by improving upon an already famous and delicious dish in such a way that takes it from amazing to extraordinary. That dish is pizza, and that improvement is deep fat frying.
Maybe you’ve heard about Scottish deep-fried Mars Bars
(Heaven forbid you’ve actually eaten one of the 420 calorie things), as well as the frying of pineapples, pickled eggs, and
my personal favorite—Braveheart Butter Bombs
. Basically, the Scots have gotten a nasty reputation for high fat, high calorie, high sugar treats, but the deep-fried pizza is taking things to a new level. This dish transforms a substandard weeknight dinner into gourmet eating, no kidding. Here are some quick facts:
- There are two main kinds of deep-fried pizza: the fried pizza, and the pizza crunch. The pizza crunch is battered, whilst the other is simply a cold pizza folded over and plunged into the hot oil.
- We are not working with artisanal, brick oven pizzas here. These are the cheapest kind you can buy, straight from the freezer section.
- These delicacies are served at fish and chip shops in Scotland, and are often offered as part of a “Pizza supper” (which basically means that they sling in some chips on the side).
- For the version popular in the Southeast of Scotland, try smothering the fried pizza in brown sauce (steak sauce).
Here’s how my own little experiment turned out:
I didn’t have time to come up with an “authentic” recipe for a pizza crunch, so we just winged it with corndog batter first, then a tempura batter. This first picture is of my fingers and a spatula smearing a slice of “raw” frozen pizza with batter. Mmmm….
The pizza was cold, so that batter did not want to stick…but I slathered it into submission.
Now here’s the magic, ladies and gentlemen. I popped that slathered slice into bubbling oil and waited patiently until it had taken on a crispy golden crust.
Oh, it tasted so good. Maybe you think that this is just a heart attack waiting to happen, but as a very occasional treat, it is awesome. The crunch as you bite into it, the gooey cheese and flavorful pepperoni within—it was heavenly.
The corndog batter went on a bit too thick. As you can see in the photo, it was like a blanket surrounding the pizza. The tempura batter (featured in the first photo) went on lighter, and was easier to work with.
All in all, this was a fantastic experience which I highly recommend. At least if you’re going to make junk food, take the trouble to make it yourself so that you can have a little pride of ownership, and a unique experience to remember forever! Long after your arteries have clogged….
Here’s a recipe for the non-crunch version of the fried pizza. If you want to try out the battered kind, check out this recipe. Also enjoy this video from SliceNY.com.
- One 14 inch pizza cut in half (pre-frozen is fine, and the cheaper the better!).
- Pre-made, frozen French fries or chips—it would be sacrilegious to make your own
- One large deep fryer of peanut oil
- Salt, vinegar, and brown sauce (optional)
- Heat the deep fryer to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fold your pizza in half so that the toppings are on the inside and it makes a kind of calzone.
- Drop the whole pizza gently into your fryer for about 5 minutes. Also throw the fries/chips into the seething oil.
- Remove the fries/chips and pizza from the fryer and garnish with salt, vinegar and brown sauce to taste. Try biting in while it’s still incredibly melty-hot!
- For this to be a truly Scottish dish, it should involve at least a little alcohol. A bit of whisky should do the trick, or perhaps a Scottish ale.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen/eaten deep-fried?
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