Monday, August 10, 2009
My first exposure to egg on pizza came via the cover of Peter Reinhart's American Pie which has a gorgeous shot of a pizza with sunnyside up eggs on top. Runny, sunnyside eggs on pizza? Now that's my idea of delicious...
I got Reinhart's book for Christmas about 5 years ago and I've been dying to try eggs on pizza ever since. I had my first opportunity at Paulie Gee's pizza tasting at the end of July and then the next weekend Lawman and I made the trek out to Williamsburg for a brunch of Pizza al' Uovo at Motorino.
Now I recognize that there are differences in the ovens--Paulie was cooking with a smaller home pizza oven and Motorino's is larger and hotter. And I'll admit that I've only had the pie once from each, but when it comes down to taste, this round goes to Paulie Gee's home brick oven.
Paulie Gee's pie was a Bianco with speck, Parmegiano Reggiano, and sunnyside up eggs topped with basil.
Motorino's pie has a similar composition--Fior di latti, eggs, pancetta, basil and Parmesan. But for me the eggs were the clincher--the yolks on Paulie's were runny* while the ones at Motorino were all completely cooked through. And the egg whites on Paulie's pie were more spread out and melded perfectly with with cheeses, while the egg whites on the Motorino pie congealed together in a solid eggy mass in the center. I did hear Paulie say he uses Eggland's Best (a man after Lawman's heart). I wonder if the eggs themselves matter or if it's more of a timing thing that impacts how they cook on the pizza. Or is it both...
One of my irrational food aversions is fully cooked egg yolks. I'll abide by them in egg salad, but otherwise no thanks. My mother-in-law on the other hand, won't touch an egg yolk until it's completely and totally cooked through. To each his own, I suppose.
There's no denying that I love Motorino's excellent Neapolitan style pies. In fact, I think they make some of the very BEST Neapolitan pizzas in the city. And reading through Carey Jones' Ortine vs. Motorino's Breakfast Head to Head, perhaps I just got Motorino's Pizza al Uovo on an off day. Or perhaps you need to specify that you want the eggs runny?
The brunch at Motorino was $10 and included fresh squeezed OJ and coffee, which is a pretty good deal for brunch in the city and more than filling. Even though we weren't overwhelmed by the Pizza al' Uovo, the Pugliese pizza we got with burrata, broccolini, sausage, fresh chilies and garlic was excellent. The chilies gave the pizza just the right amount of heat and um, you just can't go wrong with sausage on a pizza. Another bonus...no wait for a table at Motorino for brunch at 3:00pm.
I love the idea of eggs on a pizza. I've had so many other good pizzas from Motorinos, I'd be willing give their Pizza al Uovo another shot. In the meantime I'll send good pizza vibes out to Pizza Master Gee that he'll be opening his own place soon.
*While Paulie Gee himself, might have complained that the yolks were overcooked they were 1) overall runnier than Motorino's and 2) the yolk on my slice--the solo slice in the picture above--was runny perfection. As Pizzablogger so aptly put it the yolk added "a sinful richness of flavor and density of texture to the pizza. Egg yolks go VERY well with crust and it was here I really appreciated the chewiness of Paulie’s end crust, which has a thin outer snap-crisp to it and is definitely imbued with a subtle smokiness. Another damned good pizza, which would have ruled with a proper Bloody Mary alongside of it!" Well said, Pizzablogger. Well, said.