Frozen pizza is a part of the Bachelor eating pattern, the one which makes most of us sick in later years. If it’s not frozen, it’s delivered. Pizza in itself is not bad food. It contains vegetables, protein, grain and dairy, a full meal. But it also contains a lot of fat, especially saturated fat that comes from animal products. It also has too much salt in most cases.
But the frozen pizza business, like all businesses, wanted to meet the demand for better food that is sweeping the country. So that old frozen pie has gone gourmet with all sorts of new ingredients, new crusts, new sauces and cheeses. They have reduced sodium content, used more whole grains in the crust and more ingredients you would use at home making a pizza from scratch.
It doesn’t have to stop there. There are many tricks you can try at home to bolster your frozen pizza.
While breaking out your stash of medical marijuana might help, it’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a pizza stone. Any cook that has used one will sing its praises for baking all kinds of things, not just pizza. However, these can get quite pricey, and many models will not hold up under the heat and crack. So, if you’re a DIY kind of guy, I have a hack for that. Go to the hardware store and buy unglazed terra cotta quarry tiles in the flooring department. You will probably need four or six which you then arrange on the oven rack in a rectangle. These tiles can withstand high heat and a fair amount of abuse. Be sure they are not glazed. They are probably the only tiles the color of flower pots on the shelf. Instead of spending more than $40 for a commercial pizza stone, this costs about five or six dollars. And if one breaks, so what?
Turn Up The Heat
Frozen pizza manufacturers test their products on all sorts of ovens. I suppose that’s where they come up with the cooking instructions on the package. Usually, that means pre-heating the oven to 400 to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a hot oven, to be sure. But commercial pizza ovens operate much hotter than that. So, if you turn up the temperature to as high as the oven will go, 500 or 550, you will get a crisper crust. This doesn’t always work if you have a lot of toppings on it. You will also get your pizza faster. But be sure to keep a close eye on it.
Add Fresh Toppings
Here’s a great place to show your individuality, your creativeness and toppings you might not want to order from your usual delivery place. Try some fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion, capers, fresh tomato slices, leftover meats like sausage or chicken. And, of course, you can add more shredded cheese. Some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top can add a salty, nutty flavor.
Season Thick Crusts
This trick works best on those “rise-in-the-oven” pizzas with the broader rim on the crust. About three minutes before the pizza is ready to come out of the oven, brush the crust with extra virgin olive oil or melted butter. Then sprinkle on additional seasonings, like sesame or poppy seeds, Everything bagel seasoning, dried herbs or coarse salt.
Finish With Sauce and Fresh Herbs
Depending on what toppings you have, a little sauce of some kind can really bring out many flavors just before serving. A drizzle of olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, a swirl of salad dressing can really amp up a frozen pizza. While the pizza is baking, chop up some fresh herbs, like oregano, basil, thyme or chives. Sprinkle them liberally on your hot pizza before serving. A sprinkling of grated cheese can help too. Some people like red pepper flakes. Whatever you do, it’s likely to make your frozen pizza much better.