Top This: Lardo Pizza (à la Otto Enoteca Pizzeria)
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
"So is lardo essentially just....fat?" Someone recently asked me. Well in a way, yes, but really, it's so much more—pure pork fatback cured with salt and other spices such as rosemary, pepper, and garlic. The Lardo Pizza at Mario Batali's Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York City's Greenwich Village is an ode to the rich, slightly musky, creamy, silky perfection that is lardo.
The griddle-cooked Sicilian flatbread-style pizza at Otto is adorned with thin, semi-translucent ribbons of sliced lardo and finished with chopped rosemary and fruity olive oil. The ethereal ribbons melt gently into the warm pizza crust, acting something like a glorious animal butter. Sounds a bit too poetic and heavenly for your own at home pizza-making adventures? Think again.
The beauty of this pizza lies in its simplicity. Batali and crew know that the taste of the lardo shouldn't be jeopardized by a ton of superfluous ingredients. And, let's be honest, when you're dealing with pure pork fat, not much else is needed.
Here's What You'll Need (for one pizza)
- One dough portion (Otto's flatbread-style pizza recipe appears here)
- A few thinly sliced pieces of lardo*
- A couple sprigs of rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons high-quality, fruity extra virgin olive oil
If you don't have an electric slicer at home—and most of us don't—slice the lardo as thin as possible using a sharp knife. Cut the thin slices of lardo into approximately 1-inch-by-1/2-inch pieces. You should slice the lardo right before you begin grilling the pizza dough so it doesn't soften too much and become difficult to manage.
Shape the dough into a round. Heat a griddle pan on top of the stove over high heat. The griddle pan should be heated to 375°F—fairly hot but not smoking. Cook the dough on the griddle pan for about 4 minutes on each side, or until the dough firms up and gets its structure—the bottom of the crust should be firm and you will see dark bubbles form on the dough.
Take the now-cooked pizza off of the griddle pan and immediately arrange the slices of lardo evenly over the pizza. The heat of the pizza will melt the lardo slightly (drool). Top the pizza with a sprinkling of the chopped rosemary and drizzle with about two tablespoons of olive oil. Take a bite and swoon.
* A note on lardo: Otto sources its pork fatback from Heritage Farms in Ohio, where they raise Red Wattle Hogs, which are known for their particularly thick back fat. They then cure the fatback in-house to produce the Lardo for their pizzas. If you don't feel like curing your own lardo at home, you can buy lardo online from Buon Italia or Boccalone.