Pizza Lab #2: Souvlaki Gyro Pizza
Pizza Lab is a fun theoretical column in which Meg A. and Erik S. explore their innermost passion for baking and eating pizzas. It exists purely for the sake of experimenting in the kitchen. It may not necessarily be cost-effective everytime, so don’t try this at home kids.
So it’s looking like Pizza Lab managed to snag a second edition after all. Considering the effort that went into the original, we weren’t sure if we’d be up to a second one. Nonetheless, the first one received a decent number of views, which goes to show you apparently if you post something pizza-related on the internet, it will receive attention. That, and also come on, it’s friggin pizza. We couldn’t let ourselves be too lazy to make pizza together! Oh but where was I, this edition we made a pizza based on the idea of gyros.
Souvlaki Gyro Pizza
Gyros are a delicious, albeit misnomered, staple of Greek-American cuisine. Meats and vegetables served in a pita wrap and slathered in one of the most ironically delicious sauces on the planet, considering tzatziki’s appearance. Authentic gyro in Greece doesn’t necessarily need to be served in a wrap, since it actually refers to the style of broiling an enormous block of meat on a long, narrow tube-like cooker called a spit (cue penis jokes). The meat, usually lamb or chicken, is shaved off into slices, and basically tastes like something that should gross you out but is somehow delightful. In America, where the gyro pita has become synonymous with Greek restaurants and diners everywhere, we simply refer to anything involving a pita rolled up as a gyro. It’s not technically correct, but who the fuck cares, no one’s capable of arguing when they have a mouthful of sweet, sweet spit-meat (again, penis jokes). Souvlaki on the other hand refers to any meat seasoned with lemon and Greek spices, then skewered and grilled. But whatever, this is getting too in-depth and technical for something that appears side-by-side pictures of video games and half-nude anime girls. You all know what a gyro is.
Erik S. So we actually were talking about this idea for a while right?
Meg A. Yeah. I think the day you had that really crappy gyro the idea of a gyro pizza came up.
Erik S. Oh right, you mean the pile of onions which may or may not have contained traces of chicken and pita.
Meg A. Yes, that.
Erik S. Following this, we began craving gyros like a couple of manic, pregnant, Greek women, only without the excess body hair and fetus.
Meg A. Well… without the fetus at least, haha.
Erik S. Uh… yyyeah.
Of note, it was agreed upon that considering most pitas are whole wheat, we would try our hand at a whole wheat dough. Thiiis didn’t quite pan out (no pun intended) the way we were expecting.
Oh wait never mind, I thought I had a picture of the disaster which ensued and forced a second trip the supermarket in order to purchase new dough but now that I think about it I put the dough against a wall and into the garbage pail. Basically, imagine coating an elderly woman’s face in olive oil and then ripping it off messily with salad tongs. That’s more or less the end result of Pizza Lab’s first foray into the world of whole wheat doughs.
Erik S. So last time we did Pizza Lab, you had a lot of trouble with the dough. This time, we had even more of a problem.
Meg A. Yeah… this pizza had a bit of a tumultuous start…
Erik S. The last dough at least eventually resembled a pizza. This time we used a whole wheat dough, and… well… it just wasn’t having any part of that.
Meg A. No it was not. You’d think whole wheat would be be nice and gluten-y, but it just wasn’t stretching right without ripping.
Erik S. I guess the lesson here would be never eat healthy. Down with whole wheat. Fuck the police. NWO. Etc.
Meg A. Yup. Interestingly the multigrain Cheerios ads claim that people who eat whole grain lose more weight. But I think when you’re making a gyro pizza that issue becomes void anyway. It’s pretty much the crust equivalent of ordering a diet Coke alongside three Big Macs.
Erik S. Wait… diet soda doesn’t instantly make people lose weight?! When did this happen??
Meg A. Although I believe there are studies that say diet soda can increase your chance of stroke… which might help you lose weight.
Erik S. Well… I have been interested in seeing what it’s like to have a stroke…
One important aspect for this pizza however was the tzatziki sauce. The best part about gyros is the tangy-salty mishmash between the seasoned meat and the creamy yogurt sauce. Being an avid yogurt and vegetable enthusiast, Meg A. prepared a batch of freshly homemade tzatziki which was surprisingly simple to create, mostly requiring cucumber, yogurt, garlic powder, and salt among other things. It ended up being incredibly tasty, so it could also have contained the sweat of a large Greek man named Stephos for all we’re concerned. The unfortunate part however is that it simply doesn’t photograph well, considering the fact aesthetically yogurt sauce tends to resemble the aftermath of some horrifying sex orgy involving frogs and a blender.
Erik S. One thing I think really took it to the next level was your homemade tzatziki sauce.
Meg A. I love tzatziki sauce. I will put it on pretty much anything. I know you’ve witnessed me dipping french fries in it.
Erik S. Yes I’ve witnessed you being a weirdo.
Meg A. But yeah, making tzatziki sauce at home is surprisingly easy, even though a bunch of recipes make it sound complicated.
Erik S. The biggest thing I noticed with it being fresh was the cucumber. It was very cucumber-y.
Meg A. Yeah and the sound of grating a cucumber is delightfully strange.
Erik S. I’d place it somewhere between slicing potatoes and “shlicking”, the internet onomatopoeia for female masturbation.
Not to get technical again, but as mentioned gyro meat requires a contraption I don’t own, and souvlaki requires skewers which are a pain in the ass. Naturally this led to the need for some clever thinking. And by that I mean generalized laziness. In lieu of the two authentic Greek meats mentioned, I instead simply grilled chicken with a recipe for souvlaki. The results, while not faithful to the cuisine, were good enough. What. It’s going on a fucking pizza, who cares.
Meg A. We shouldn’t overlook your chicken, since it’d be more of a salad pizza without it. Actually… I suppose this is really more of a souvlaki pizza, since it doesn’t have the shaved meat… but either way it’s delicious.
Erik S. True, I own a lot of kitchen supplies, however a gyro spit is not one of them.
Meg A. I know what somebody’s getting for Christmas!
Erik S. Also, technically souvlaki meat must be skewered to be true souvlaki. So mine was just imitation souvlaki. Greek grilled chicken I guess.
Meg A. So we made a greek abomination pizza… that’s a bit wordy. Let’s stick with gyro.
Erik S. Agreed.
Meg A. The chicken was good though. A little strong in flavor on its own, but once it was with the other ingredients it worked really well.
Erik S. Exactly, when you drown anything in yogurt, it’s going to mellow out a lot. For example, a baby.
In addition to the chicken, obviously fresh tomatoes were sliced and placed on top, alongside a minimal amount of onions, simply because onions are a necessary nuisance which while adding flavor should never be enforced in the barbaric ways that restaurants do. Do they give a good zing? Yes. Do we all want to smell like an unwashed armpit for the rest of the night? No. (Most of us at least.) Needless to say, cheese is a requirement of all pizzas, and considering feta cheese is often included on many gyros, and most if not all Greek foods, that seemed to be an easy choice to make.
Meg A. We need to give some credit to mother nature too, for those super yummy tomatoes.
Erik S. It almost makes me wish we had made it during the summer though. These tomatoes were surprisingly good for store bought, however I’m a bit of a tomato hipster and tend to only eat ones from my garden.
Meg A. Well, I guess we’ll just have to make it again in the summer. I guess I’ll just have to suffer through eating delicious pizza once again…
Erik S. You are a trooper.
Meg A. We all make sacrifices. But in the end, everything came together really well, I’d say.
The out-of-the-oven pizza was then coated with the final piece of the puzzle, tzatziki sauce. There was a bit of a question whether or not to put the sauce on prior to or after baking. On one hand, the general technique of making pizza infers you put a layer of sauce, followed by toppings, then baking it. However tzatziki sauce is always, always served cold. I don’t know if this is some sort of militaristic law enforced in both Greece and Greek-American diners, however that just seems the way of the world. I’m only one man so who am I to question it? Regardless, it was decided to spoon the concoction on last, so that it would remain cool on top of the freshly baked pizza. As was the theme with the yogurt sauce, the result was a pleasure to eat, despite visually appearing to be something discovered in the back of a refrigerator which hasn’t seen light of day since the Reagan administration.
Meg A. The only negative is the mess when trying to eat it. But real gyros tend to be rather messy too, so it’s appropriate. It did reheat surprisingly well. I thought it’d just be a pile of mush the next day, but it wasn’t.
Erik S. The mess was mostly due to the generous helping of yogurt sauce. …and by generous helping I mean inch thick layer.
Meg A. Well, there’s no such thing as too much tzatziki sauce. …dammit, now I want tzatziki sauce.
Erik S. Hey you said it yourself, it’s easy to make. You could always make some right now. Just make sure to do it in plain sight, with all the lights on so your parents don’t get any horrifying ideas about what you do in the kitchen late at night.
There you have it. A perfect example of “don’t judge a pizza by its cover (unless the cover says Dominoes)”. The Gyro Souvlaki Pizza isn’t pretty to look at, nor will you be in the midst of eating it, following the eighth time you’ve drippled it down your face onto your button down. Then again, pizza is a comfort food generally eaten amongst friends who hopefully will be the last to point out you’ve spilled something on you, or mutter the phrase “How ruthlessly uncivil” in an actual conversation. Oh and also before anyone points out that gyros have lettuce on them, shut up. Lettuce is pointless filler. Why in God’s name would you put filler on a goddamn pizza.
Souvlaki Gyro Pizza