Top Fresh-Baked Pizza With Cold Cured Meat For A Delightful Contrast In Every Bite

Frozen pizza is a novelty workhorse. But, if your cardboard-esque beauty queen is dropping her crown, it might be time to zhuzh it up with the help of some flavorful toppings. Look no further than your go-to charcuterie meats.

It's all about the hot and cold contrast, as the cured meats intermingle with the hot, gooey cheese. Pepperoni isn't the only cold cured meat that belongs on your 'za radar. An elegant layer of prosciutto, a few strips of mortadella (aka sexy bologna), and some funky soppressata are all it takes to add a layer of savory richness to your humble pie. The cold meats protect your mouth from getting scalded by the lava-hot cheese of the pizza you just pulled out of the oven and are immediately digging into (we get it). Still, there's nothing in the rule book that says you couldn't load these cold cured meats onto your frozen pizza halfway through its tenure in the oven so they end up with a crispy char and a fatty, melty mouthfeel, though you would lose the temperature contrast.

Plus, the natural fats of the meats give the profile a welcome luxurious facelift in every bite. This tip is also a great way to use up any leftover charcuterie that you might've sliced for a dinner party or board game night. Hosting on Friday but staying in to binge-watch movies on Saturday? This easy frozen pizza hack has you covered.

A few pie-deas for the road

As a general rule, this tip is only successful if you slice your cold cured meats thin. Keep in mind that some meats might require a little extra attention during prep. Soppressata, for instance, can run a little tough, so be sure it's sliced extra thin on the diagonal or else cut into little meaty strips like a rectangular pepperoni.

For a fresh element, keep the charcuterie-inspired train rolling and add artichokes, feta cheese, and roasted red peppers on top of your prosciutto and soppressata. Or, you could swing more antipasto-style with fresh basil and halved grape tomatoes. Some like it hot — and if you're some — feel free to add some Calabrian chili peppers and garlic. Swing sweet? Add fresh figs, arugula, and a drizzle of hot honey to a prosciutto pizza.

Take a cue from a classic meat-and-cheese platter and load up your meats with asiago, shaved parmesan, gorgonzola, or even a puck of fresh burrata torn into shreds. To serve, simply hit that loaded slice with a drizzle of good olive oil and pour a glass of your favorite red wine. Depending on the saltiness of your choice of cured meats, you could even sprinkle on some flaky sea salt. Smoked Maldon sea salt would add a savory dimensionality that would pair well with your cured meats.