Top This: Pepperoni and Homemade Pickled Banana Peppers

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My uncle had a bumper crop of tomatoes and hot banana peppers this year and decided to send'em all on up to New York from Pennsylvania via my-sister-express. What do you do with a peck of peppers? Why, you pickle'em of course.

Not only that, but this past week I was walking into the supermarket under my building and discovered a brand new Boar's Head display right in the front of the store stocking natural casing hot dogs, sauerkraut, pickles, and... wait for it... natural casing sticks of real-deal pepperoni. I've been scouring New York for years for a reliable source for natural casing pepperoni, and lo and behold, the pepperoni comes to me instead.

Like Adam, I first started liking the combination of pepperoni and some kind of hot pepper when I tasted it on a limited edition Papa John's Zesty Jalapeño and Meat Pizza a few years back. That pizza wasn't particularly great, but the topping combo was. Pickled banana peppers (I like'em better than jalapeños) are a go-to topping when I'm ordering pizza, but I'd never actually made myself one of these pies at home. All that changed last week.

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The peppers were done in a simple basic pickling solution—1 part distilled vinager, 1 part water, half a part sugar, and a pinch of salt, simply heated and poured hot over the sliced peppers. I also added a sliced shallot because I happened to have it on hand. The pepperoni was thick sliced by hand, and curled up beautifully around the edges. The dough was a basic New York pizza dough, the sauce was my New York pizza sauce, and the cheese was a dry mozzarella from Vermont.

I baked the whole thing off on a Baking Steel (my new favorite baking surface), and five minutes later, I was enjoying one of the finest pies to come out of my kitchen.

Click through the link to get the recipe for Pickled Banana Peppers »