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Aug 9, 2011 07:21 AM

tomato slices, roma tomatos pieces or sauce on margherita pizza

On a Margherita pizza, do you have a preference, and does it differ from what you actually use?

From what I see on Google images, it looks as though there are many choices for a Margherita pizza.

I have an aversion to roma tomatoes not being peeled. Not much left after peeling. Do you cut them into little square pieces as you see in the restaurant, or slice them?

I have an aversion to using sloppy tomato slices - have to cut out most of the ripest part, leaving very little tomato. Also I would have to cut the skin off.

A jarred or homemade sauce is IMO not a margerita pizza.

Today I have a choice, but I'm torn between what to do with the roma or regular tomatoes. What-to-do, what-to-do!

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  1. "Authentic" (a loaded term if ever there was one) margherita can be made with canned or fresh tomatoes and they don't even *have* to be peeled. But tomato skins bring nothing to the equation so I don't see any reason to leave them in place.

    For my pizzas I either use canned high quality tomatoes or I use fresh tomatoes done "concasse" style- peeled and seeded. I crush them by hand afterwards.

    The only "sauce" that goes on a neopolitan pizza is olive oil


    2 Replies
    1. re: e_bone

      <"The only "sauce" that goes on a neopolitan pizza is olive oil.">

      There are three Official types of Napolitano pizzas:
      Marinara: made with peeled tomatoes, garlic, oregano (usually dried), EVOO. Margherita: made with peeled tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, basil, EVOO.
      Margherita Extra : made with peeled tomatoes, sliced bufala mozzarella from Campania, basil (usually fresh), EVOO

      It's OK to salt the pizza if salt was not used in making the sauce. Either Roma or San Marzano tomatoes are allowed. Both peeled. Obviously there are as many variations as there are cooks but the above 3 are the Official pizzas.

      1. re: Gio

        I do have bufala mozz, but it from Italy via Costco to my home. I have fresh basil from my garden.

        I will be making Margherita Extra, but still wondering whether I should use fresh peeled roma tomatoes OR round tomatoes fresh from my garden.

        Can't decide. I know! I know!

        I will use romas on one pizza and regular round tomatoes.

        Still wondering what you-all do.

    2. The Neopolitan organization that sets rules in Italy about what makes certain pizzas "authentic"--rules in English here: says you can use fresh or canned tomatoes that have been seeded and peeled and it appears that you are to make them into a sauce since it tells you how to spread it on the pizza. We will sometimes make ours with fresh tomatoes that spend time on paper towels and we do the same for the fresh mozzarella (buffalo is outside of our budget) which gets salted and pressed between paper towels to avoid the milky pools on the finished pizza.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        This is a fabulous site. I got a chuckle out of the admonition against using a rolling pin.
        Another chuckle over the use of "San Marzano..." tomatoes.
        I grew Italian seeds of San Marzano - but of course, we all know that it's the terroir.
        Good hint about letting the fresh tomatoes sitting on towels - I will do that.
        My pizza dough is sitting now for a while, so I'll have time.
        This is a keeper. I love it. Thanks.

      2. To me, it's a matter of preference. But I wonder how you're peeling them? Do you score them, then drop them for a few seconds in boiling water, then slide the peel off? You shouldn't lose too much flesh that way. If you're using a peeler, try the boiling method and hopefully you won't lose a lot of the flesh. Then, give them each a good squeeze to get some excess seeds and moisture out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: katecm

          Thanks for the hint. I think I'll do the smaller tomatoes by dropping into boiling water because I wouldn't have much left otherwise.

          1. re: Rella

            I never peel, and my pizza margherita turns out just fine.

        2. My first Margherita was at a brewpub in Nashville, of all places, and it was exquisite: single-serving hand-stretched, brushed with olive oil, decked with sliced mozzarella and sliced Romas (not peeled, as I recall). Pulled out of the oven, fresh basil leaves applied, back in for a moment and then served. Seven bucks for perfection. Every one I've had elsewhere has disappointed, usually from overdoing it and gussying it up, sometimes from simple stupidity, like slices of fresh salad tomatoes with resulting puddles of standing water. And the original? They tell me Bosco's pulled it off their menu long ago …

          5 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            Nashville of all places, right. You'll have to make your own. However, none can ever compete with the memory of the perfect pizza. I feel that way about "Sally's" in New Haven.

            Tonight I made one pizza using home grown San Marzano from Italian seeds and another pizza using our usual home grown round tomatoes (both peeled and let drain as suggested from posters above.)

            Same everything, but we could not tell the difference between tomatoes.

            P.S. DH had Pelligrino (Bergamo) and I, a glass of vino.

            Ready for a movie - total night out cost - minimal! Total enjoyment - maximus.

            Thanks, all.

            1. re: Rella

              thanks for followup post and too-little too-late I understand now via context what your original question was.. you were talking, I wasn't listening. But if I understood it correctly THIS time I think you are making the assumption that both "sets" of tomatoes were of the same quality/ripeness/etc.. And I think i would have answered you that

              1. I would have used the best tomatoes I had in terms of ripeness and quality of origin (unless I had the BEST tomaotes earmarked for something even better- like a non-cooked tomato dish)
              2. But even with that- a "round" tomato, in my mind (not backed up by research) is going to have a higher water content relative to mass and so will bring less to the pizza party.
              3. This goes back to why Roma/Marzano/etc... tomaotes were favored for this type of food- the acitidy and higher meat yield (my term) stands up to the demands of heat and fat from cheese and oil.

              I like the fact that given the preparation methods you didn't see a discernalble difference in tomatoes. Win Win. Pehraps your unstated assumption was correct: shape was different, quality wasn't.

              That has some typos.. I have my contacts in and my screen in bedside laptop is small. Hopefully I misspelled an Italian word so I will get 34 postings about how repulsively ignorant I am about true Naple-eze cooking.

              1. re: e_bone

                Possibly just sheer luck that the tomatoes best suited to sauce-making - because of their high solid-to-liquid ratio - should for that same reason be best suited to pizza adornment. Oh, yes, and acidity helps too.

                I've seen pizza recipes calling for salad tomatoes, that tell you to get rid of the jelly-like seed mass and dry the slices thoroughly on paper towels. Seems like an awful lot of trouble easily avoided …

                1. re: Will Owen

                  My fave is cherry tomatoes halved and put on face up- no bleeding to the pizza, and incredibly intense flavor if they're good tomatoes. Don't suppose it would be allowed on a pizza with a name, though.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Yesterday I made another pizza using very ripe salad tomatoes. - VERY ripe ones - and I did pat dry the slices only a little bit, but I like the jelly-like mass and left them attached, just letting the juice run down into the corners of the cutting board. I did not have a wet bufola cheese to make more moisture, This time my pizza was just tomatoes and grana padano and loads of garden basil.

                    Oldunc, you are right - this means that it has no name, although good!
                    As to cherry tomatoes, I could agree with you except I gag from the skins. That gag reflex is not acceptable at the table :-))

            2. I use sliced fresh tomatoes when really good, very ripe ones are available. I've used canned sauces and gotten great results. Lately, because of the amazing quality of the local canned crushed tomatoes, that's what I use. Spooned right out of the can with no doctoring or adjusting. The thing about tomatoes and tomato products, whether fresh or canned, is that they are extremely variable in quality and flavor. A little experimentation can be helpful.