Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza.
The mere mention of anchovies doesn't evoke pleasant memories for most people. Maybe someone dared you to order it as a pizza topping during a childhood slumber party. Perhaps your older brother snuck one onto a slice when you weren't looking.
But now you're older and (hopefully) wiser, and just like the Dr. Seuss character who was finally convinced to try green eggs and ham, the combined pizza influence of Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali might actually be enough to persuade you to take the plunge and discover how devilishly delicious the pungent anchovy can be.
It starts with Mozza's famous crusts -- chewy and dense, undulated with dozens of yeasty air pockets -- spread with a bright brick-red tomato sauce, sharp enough in its acidity to remind you of the summer sun. A dotting of pulverized green chiles is added, lending a lingering, herbaceous heat. On top are a few salt-packed alici di menaica anchovies, funky with maritime tang, curled up on the pizza into compact little umami bombs. Each component stands out like a vibrant pluck of a violin string, forming a kind of salty-tangy-funky harmony. Could you convince a 12-year-old version of yourself to eat this? Doubtful, but the grown-up in you knows better.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
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