Fresh, gooey cheeses and fragrant truffles ruled the rooftop of New York’s Pier 92 last night at La Sagra Slices, an epic waterfront pizza party that helped kick off this weekend’s NYC Wine & Food Festival. But having swooped in from Philly, chef Marc Vetri stood out among the many talented pizzaioli with some of the most unusual toppings of the night. Vetri shaved snowy drifts of ricotta salata over thick pan pies topped with warm chicory and cubes of cool, floral honeydew melon. “The square pizzas can hold up to more toppings,” Vetri told us. “We’re very big fans of Gabriele Bonci in Rome. He sticks everything on his pies.” Bonci’s Pizzarium is known for serving artisanal pizza al taglio using a diverse mix of top-quality ingredients, which sometimes includes fruit. Here, Vetri shares some of the fruits he’s been experimenting with at Pizzeria Vetri and why they deserve your attention. Hawaiian pie not included.
1. Melon. “We just got in a bunch of chicory and decided to stick melons on it,” says Vetri matter-of-factly. ”I like to mess around with not only sweet and salty, but warm and cold and the whole textural thing: soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.” The fresh, delicate sweetness of the melon contrasts with the rough, bitter greens.
2. Figs. Expect to see figs at Pizzeria Vetri this fall. Speck, gorgonzola and aged balsamic vinegar will be paired with the earthy fruit. “I like to do fruits that are sweet but also a little savory,” explains Vetri.
3. Plums. Like the figs, stone fruits also take well to ham and some sort of acid, like a vin cotto or verjus.
4. Apples. The perfect fall fruit for cakes, pies and tarts is also delicious in savory, bready preparations when combined with a strong cheese and sweet-tangy condiment.
5. Mango. Vetri’s chef Manny Perez, who spent a week at Pizzarium and fired all the pies last night, recalled testing the most unique pizza fruit we’ve ever heard of: tangy mango with balsamic reduction and soft stracciatella cheese.