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Daily Slice: Evolution of the Amore oi Mari at Pizzicletta in Flagstaff, AZ
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
One of the many ways I like to torture myself is by following the twitter feeds of great out-of-state pizzerias to see which amazing pizzas I won't be eating that evening. My favorite of those belongs to Caleb Schiff, partly because he cooks up inventive pies (recent specials include a Cacio e Pepe with Pecorino, panna, ricotta, garlic & coarse-cracked blacked pepper and a Bee Sting with ricotta, roasted serranos, sopressata, & local Mountain Top orange blossom honey), but mostly because it reminds me that I need to get my butt back to Flagstaff for another Amore oi Mari.
Tiny shavings of Pecorino Romano sharpen up the creamy marscapone base before a light bed of slightly bitter wild arugula and thin, nearly transparent slices of nutty, barely sweet prosciutto add color to the palette. The Queen Creek meyer lemon olive oil is still a surprise when it cuts through the flavors and elevates something great into something up near the stratosphere. It's been my favorite pizza combination for a while now.
I was a massive fan of Pizzicletta on first blush, and in the 18 months since opening it's been fascinating to check in every six months or so to see the evolution of Caleb's pizza. Here's what it looked like way back in August of 2011:
Here's what it looked like in March of 2012:
And here's what it looked like recently:
To hammer home how consistent Pizzicletta has become, this last pie isn't the same as the one at the very top—they were made a day apart.
I imagine Caleb feels like I'm posting his baby pictures, but the maturation is striking, especially in the shape and texture of the cornicione and the leopard spotting. Another important change that you can't see is that he figured out how to balance out the mascarpone cheese across the pie, which I can tell you from my attempts to replicate it at home is very difficult (we can't all be TXCraig1). And even the prosciutto slicing has been elevated.
Most of the pizzaioli I respect will usually default to Margherita as their favorite pie to showcase their wares and Caleb isn't any different. After all, at its core, Neapolitan pizza is primarily about great bread working in concert with spare ingredients. However, there's something just plain wonderful about a decadent, savory overload like the Amore that goes for the jugular, and I already feel like I'm overdue for another one.
About the author: Lance Roberts is a writer in Los Angeles.