100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 46, Parma 600 Pizza at Pizzeria Solario
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
Photo by Troy Fields If you eat one thing at Pizzeria Solario, make it the Parma 600.
As I noted in my review of Pizzeria Solario back in December, the food is somewhat hit or miss. A few dishes I tried were completely underwhelming, which made me sad, because, in general, the pizza is divine.
And the best of the best pizza at Pizzeria Solario? The Parma 600, topped with prosciutto aged for more than 600 days in a cellar in Italy; soft, creamy fior di latte mozzarella; and fresh, peppery arugula. It's beautiful in its simplicity. There's nothing on that pizza that doesn't serve a purpose and enhance the experience of eating it.
Unlike the tomato-based pizzas on the menu (also wonderful), the Parma 600 features a white garlic crema sauce, which is mild enough to let the other ingredients shine while adding a bit of extra richness and moisture to each slice. The sauce is topped with creamy fior di latte and strong pecorino cheeses and gamey Prosciutto di Parma. Finally, a touch of funky truffle oil and bright arugula is placed on top of the pie after baking; the greens are lightly wilted from the heat emanating from the pie.
Photo by Troy Fields The finishing touches.
The mixture of fresh greens and truffle oil with the concentrated, meaty aroma of the aged prosciutto dances a ballet across the palate as one flavor gives way to another. By the time most of a slice is consumed, you're left with just the crust, but the crust at Solario is not one you cast aside in favor of a more interesting, topping-covered bite. With its bubbled, crispy pockets of toothsome dough, it's good enough to eat all on its own.
And since the salads at Pizzeria Solario can be a little disappointing, just skip them. There's basically a salad on top of that Parma 600 pizza. And protein and carbs and dairy. I think you could eat this pizza every day for the rest of your life and manage to stay healthy.
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