Spicy Soppressata and Honey Were Born to Live Together on Pizza

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Spicy soppressata and sweet honey top this Neapolitan pie. [Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]

We food folks are a sort of incestuous bunch. No, not in that way. What I mean is that so long as it's done respectfully, we love it when people borrow, use, alter, upgrade, sideswipe, stir up, shake, or otherwise manipulate our ideas and ingredients.

When our friend, and pizza genius, Paulie Gee took a bottle of chili- and vinegar-infused honey made by his apprentice Mike Kurtz and drizzled it over his Delboy pizza (a pie topped with spicy soppressata, mozzarella, and Parmesan) at Paulie's eponymous restaurant, the Hellboy was born. It became an instant classic—one that we've been touting for years. In fact, Eater recently dubbed it the "Crack Pie of Pizza".

I'd never tasted honey on pizza before, but it was so darn natural that it felt like every pizzeria should have honey on the table, right next to the red pepper flakes. Honey and spicy dry-cured sausage is one of those combinations that are just meant to be.

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So the other day, when I was firing off a batch of new pies in my backyard, the combination immediately came to mind. I don't have a bottle of Mike's Hot Honey at home, but I've got plenty of regular honey. Combined with some spicy soppressata and thinly sliced chilies, I figured it would do me well.

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I spread some crushed tomatoes on a stretched disk of my Neapolitan pizza dough and scattered it with chunks of fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, spicy soppressata, sliced serrano chilies, and basil leaves. Then I popped it in the oven for just a couple of minutes. Typically I'd use my Baking Steel and KettlePizza combo oven, but at the moment I've got a loaner Kalamazoo Pizza Oven, so I'm trying to get in as much testing as possible before I have to send it back (stay tuned for a full review).

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As soon as the pie came out, I drizzled it with some fresh honey before slicing and serving.

Was it exactly like Paulie Gee's Hellboy? Nope, and that's really okay. It was still delicious. The best thing about good ideas is that they just keep giving.