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Making margarita pizza at home -- what tomatoes to use?

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My husband and I (both cooking novices) are experimenting with making margarita pizza at home. We haven't gotten the tomato sauce quite right yet. We've tried Pomi strained tomatoes and Redpack tomato paste (on separate occasions), each time mixing them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. The tomato paste was definitely way thicker than what we needed, and while I think the texture of the Pomi was more right, I just didn't love the taste of the tomatoes on the pizza.

Can you recommend what consistency of tomatoes we should use, what we should mix it with (is olive oil and sea salt right? we want to keep it simple and Neapolitan-style)? Any specific brand recommendations would be particularly appreciated.

Also, would you recommend salted or unsalted mozzarella?

Thanks so much!

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  1. When the boyfriend and I do a margarita pizza, we don't use any sauce at all. We just brush the dough with a small amount of olive oil, and top it with a good mozzerella, mixing in a good dose of basil leaves (okay, now I'm hungry). We top that with slices of marinated tomatoes. We do the tomatoes the day before, letting them marinate overnight in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a few dried herbs. But if you are determined to have a sauce, it sounds like you might enjoy a marinara (so easy to make). It did sound like you were putting the tomato products right on the dough, and not cooking it first? I wonder if that is because you don't want a sauce that is too heavy?

    And my boyfriend only has one rule in the kitchen: salt on everything . . . so that's your answer as far as the cheese goes.

    Good luck, and enjoy your kitchen!

    1. I definitely like to cook my tomatoes first - in other words - a quick marinara
      (brown some garlic and onion in OO throw in some squished canned plum tomatoes Sans most of the juice, add seasoning - cook for 10-15 minutes..then throw lots of basil in it.
      I dont like the sauce watery so i do drain allot of the juice out of the can.

      For me its gotta be salted freh mozzerella

      1. For neapolitan-style pizza, you don't want a cooked tomato product on your pizza.

        I don't see much point in mixing anything in with the tomato sauce. Simply dress the pizza, salt and pepper it to your liking, and drizzle with olive oil before or after it comes out of the oven. If you're able to cook the pizza in under 5 minutes, i'd put the basil on before it goes in the oven, as they do with neapolitan pizzas. If you're cooking for 10-15 minutes, it'll likely burn. But then again if it takes that long the result is very likely not similar to neapolitan style. :)

        Neapolitan pizza is about clean, bright, fresh flavors. To that end tomato paste is definitely out, and cooking the sauce is probably not what you want.

        I use Pomi strained tomatoes. I like the flavor of them more than most other brands, although I also like Muir Glen. Do a taste test right out of the can to determine which brands you prefer.

        1. My husband swears that I'm trying to express deliver him to boot hill, but I go for salted mozzarella -- a slight saltiness is part of pizza. For variety I might use a good fontina for stronger flavor and sensuous meltiness. For the sauce, I generally like to make a quick sauce with strained crushed San Marzano canned tomatoes in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic cloves minced on a board sprinkled with (yes!) sea salt. Stir in some chopped fresh basil if you have it just before spreading on the pizza dough. God, is dinner ready yet?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Avid Rita

            yes, san marzano is the ONLY tomato for AUTHENTIC neapolitan pizza. this was pointed out by Ernesto of Pizzeria del Presidente (supposedly the greatest pizzeria mankind has ever known) to heston blumenthal during his trip to naples. italian celebrity chefs genarro contaldo and valentina harris also insist on san marazno.

            1. re: epabella

              it's probably safe to say that most restaurants in Naples insist on san marzano.

              however, with respect to authenticity of neapolitan style pizza, there are about 100 things you could do that would make a pizza that tastes nothing like neapolitan pizza, and using a non-san marzano is way at the bottom of the list.

              1. re: tommy

                I agree that fresh tomatoes should be used. Sadly, in the USA one is not likely to find fresh San Marzanos or any other good paste style tomato. For those not familiar with the various types of tomato, pastes have more flesh, fewer seeds, and less off the goopy gel surrounding the seeds. The quality of the tomato is more important than type, so go to the farmers market and if you can't find a good paste tomato, buy whatever tastes good. If using beefsteak or other tomato, instead of salting as Phurstluv does, I just cut across the equator and then give each half a gentle squeeze to remove most of the seeds and gel.

                I've also used canned whole San Marzanos or other canned tomatoes out of season. Not too bad (better than using supermarket tomatoes, at any rate). Just cut them up a bit and press lightly to remove most of the water.

                Maybe it's the brands I've tried or my inferior taste buds, but I don't see any difference between canned San Marzanos and canned Romas.

                1. re: tommy

                  according to that episode of InSearchOfPerfection, the perfect margarita is kinda like zen. simplicity is the elusive key and it's what you don't do that's important.

            2. When I think of margherita pizza, I think of fresh cut romas or beefsteaks. Romas hold up to baking and high heat better, but if you presalt some large beefsteaks, to help lose a little water before putting on the pizza, they are delicious.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Phurstluv

                I like to oven dry mine to reduce the water and intensify the flavor.

                1. re: chowser

                  I don't really dry them, but I set them out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Does the same thing, without actually "cooking" or "drying" them out.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Me too, especially since I do mine on the grill and try for "done", but not too soggy or dry either.