Chicken Pizza: It Doesn't Suck

As I said earlier, Ed Levine's recent water-cooler talk about chicken pizza inspired today's Slice poll. So I asked him to elaborate on the subject. And here he is. Take it away, Ed! The Mgmt.


A chicken Parm slice from NY Pizza Suprema. [Photograph: Adam Kuban]

My son, Will, loves chicken pizza. A lot. The kind where they chop up a breaded chicken cutlet and put it on top of the cheese and sauce. Me, on the other hand, I have always been unalterably opposed to the very idea. My up-to-now passionately held view on the subject is as follows: Since a slice of plain pizza is basically cheese and sauce on top of bread or crust, why would you then add another breaded element to it? In so doing the chicken pizza–maker is creating a dish that is basically bread on bread, a bread sandwich as it were.

Now, a full ten years after Will and I had begun discussing this vitally important pizza-related issue, I have to admit it: Chicken pizza doesn't suck. In fact, sometimes it hits the spot. What turned me around?

The realization that chicken pizza is just a chicken Parm hero in pizza form. Think about it. A chicken Parm hero has the same component parts as a chicken pizza: breaded chicken cutlet, cheese, sauce, and bread.

So if you love a good chicken Parm as much as I do, you cannot be fundamentally opposed to the very idea of a chicken pizza. The logic track doesn't even hold up to loose scrutiny.

In fact, the problems I still have with chicken pizza are the same problems I have with most chicken Parm heroes: The chicken cutlet is reheated, soggy, and dry, all at the same time (and that's not easy).

So what can we conclude? There are probably as many bad chicken pizzas in the world as there are chicken Parm heroes. But that doesn't mean I can dismiss out of hand the very idea of chicken pizza.

Please forgive me, Will. As the late Jerry Orbach's character said in Dirty Dancing: "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong."

I'm with you, Jerry, especially when it comes to chicken pizza.

Related: Chicken Parm Hero Greatness!

Torrisi Italian Specialties Serves Chicken Parm Sandwiches for the Gods For me the gold standard of chicken Parmesan is the sandwich Mary Lou Cappeza served at the late, great Corona Heights Pork store. The Torrisi's version comes perilously close. Why? The chicken cutlets are fried in good old Progresso bread crumbs, then topped with slices of housemade mozzarella and long-simmered tomato sauce seasoned with fresh basil. The sandwich's secret weapon here is the soft Parisi semolina roll, which makes a perfect foil for the crispy chicken cutlet. [SENY »]