Friday Special Pizza

Growing up in the Philippines, we didn’t have a wealth of choices of pizza places. We had a favorite restaurant called The Italian Village, and we’d get to our table, order our food, grab a few breadsticks, then my brothers and I would rush to stand in front of a giant glass pane in front of their kitchen, watching the pizza guys fling the dough in the air. Forget about crayons and connecting the dots. The only thing that could pry us away from that sight was the wafting scent of our pizza as it arrived.

But when it came to pizza parlors (that’s what we called them), just about the only popular chain then was Shakey’s Pizza. It really did have a parlor feel, with player piano music, servers in red and yellow striped attire with brimmed hats. My younger brother and I loved the Hawaiian Pizza, but my older brother? His favorite was the Friday Special, which I never understood. It had shrimp, mushrooms, and anchovies. Really? Mushrooms and anchovies versus pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple?

The Ivory Hut: Friday Special Pizza

His choice of pizza only cemented our belief that he was weird. (After all, who brings a linear algebra book to a summer vacation trip up in the mountains? At the age of 9! Seriously? Only freaks are that smart.)

The one thing we did agree on, though, was root beer. Pizza was always washed down with a pitcher of root beer. To this day, drinking root beer with a slice of pizza always makes me feel like a kid again.

Last year, for a pizza party at home, I decided to re-create the Friday Special just for my brother. (Because I love him, weirdness and all.) I guess the years must have matured my taste buds, because after one bite, I finally understood why he loved it so much. Either that, or his freakishness has finally rubbed off on me.

Side note: Of course, clueless me, I only realized last night that it was called “Friday Special” in honor of Lenten Fridays, when most of the predominantly Catholic Filipinos avoided meat. So there’s no “meat” in this pizza—just vegetables and seafood.

The Ivory Hut: Friday Special Pizza

This is my grownup, slightly fancier version of Friday Special. Shakey’s Pizza made theirs with canned sliced button mushrooms, but I happened to have a basket of gourmet organic mushrooms from Gourmet Mushrooms. Sweet, no?

The chopped tomatoes add a nice tang to counter the earthiness of the mushrooms, the saltiness of the anchovies, and the garlicky shrimp. You can prepare everything while the oven is preheating, and by the time you’re done pre-cooking the mushrooms and shrimp, the oven should be ready.


Friday Special Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza (serves 4)

Use your favorite pizza dough recipe, or even store-bought. My favorite store-bought pizza dough comes from Corrado’s in NJ.

2 large tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed in a garlic press
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 whole pizza crust dough, thawed and at room temperature
cornmeal, for sprinkling on baking sheet or pizza peel
1/2 cup marinara sauce (you can substitute any pizza sauce or even tomato sauce)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
3 to 4 whole anchovy fillets (canned)

Preheat oven to 500ºF. If using a pizza stone, leave the stone in the oven while preheating.

Slice the tomatoes in half and scoop out the inner core with the seeds. Gently squeeze to remove excess juice. You only want the outer flesh off the tomato (the inner portions will produce too much liquid when cooked). Dice and set aside on paper towels to continue drawing out the moisture.

Season the shrimp with paprika and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Continue cooking until the liquid given off by the mushrooms has evaporated, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove mushrooms to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp until barely pink but still fairly raw inside, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove shrimp from the skillet and set aside.

Spread out your dough on a baking sheet greased with some oil and dusted with cornmeal. (If using a pizza stone, omit this step and instead roll out the pizza dough and place on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.) Spread the tomato sauce on the dough, avoiding the edges. Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes on top. Evenly distribute the cheese over the dough, followed by the cooked mushrooms. Take the anchovy fillets and cut or tear into small pieces and distribute over the pizza.

Place the pizza in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until cheese just starts to bubble. Take the pizza out and add the shrimp on top. Return to the oven and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is brown and melted.

The Ivory Hut: Friday Special Pizza


25 thoughts on “Friday Special Pizza”

  1. When I make this pizza, I will change the recipe to say “Serves 1” Lucky you, winning those mushrooms! I’ve never won a giveaway. Ever! Anyway, I’ll definitely be making this in the NEAR future :) Gorgeous photos too!

  2. Well I had forgotten all about it. I grew up in Missoula, Montana, and we had a Shakey’s too! The piano player, the hat, the whole nine yards! Love your descriptions, recipes, photos. Loving shrimp, mushrooms and anchovies, I will definitely have to give this a try. Thank you!

  3. Wow, I could just bite right into that picture. I don’t think my monitor would appreciate it though.

    I love your stories about your family.

  4. I agree, I didn’t understand Shakey’s Friday Special until I had one! Kudos to this creation! I hope someday I can make one.And congratulations on those mushrooms :)

  5. You had me at mushrooms and anchovies — the garlic shrimp just sweetens the deal! Can’t wait to try out this variation the next time my husband and I have a pizza night. Yum!

  6. Wow! That basket of mushrooms looks amazing. Mushrooms are one of my favourite foods but we don’t seem to get much variety in little New Zealand. I guess we are so far away from the rest of the world? I adore anchovies and your Friday Special looks so gourmet and loaded with goodies that I don’t think anyone would notice it was “lacking” in meat. With a brainfood diet like this, no wonder he is a little genius :)

  7. I’m more like you were when younger, preferring just cheese, pepperoni (and bacon) on my pizza but your photographs of this Friday Special you made for your brother are gorgeous.
    This was such a dear post of your brother and his special day and I hope he gave you a big hug last year when you served him this (then I hope he cleaned up the kitchen after the party for you!)

  8. Shakey’s in the Philippines! I remember going there many times when I was a kid. Until Pizza Hut came along. When I got in college, pizza places sprouted like crazy! It’s like everywhere you turn, there’s a pizza place lol

  9. I’m in love!
    Your photos are gorgeous and that pizza? Sweet memories. \
    As a teenager – in the 70s – we hung out at Abbey’s Pizza in my small town of Wenatchee, Washington, and I always wanted their pizza with shrimp & cocktail sauce on it (though I can’t remember the name of it now.) My friends all thought I was crazy to want that combo, and since we were sharing I had to go along with whatever the majority wanted. Once in awhile I could talk someone into ordering the shrimp-y pizza, but nowhere near often enough!

    Anyway…YOUR pizza looks amazing. It has all my favorite things.

    One more thing: I’m a big mushroom lover and Forest Namekos are my new favorite. It makes me so happy to see them here on your blog.

  10. ahhhhh, what memories!! Italian village and Shakey’s. Italian Village is long gone, thankfully Shakey’s is still around and stronger than ever (though the original one in Makati with the Charlie Chaplin films will always remain in my heart!!) My personal favorite is the very simple garlic and cheese. We just did homemane pizza yesterday, with my boys it is always a meat lover’s thing with leftover sausage, bacon, chorizo and ham (my second son allows me to put in some olives). I’ll have to do the Friday’s special next time. I love the anchovies and the garlic shrimp. I’ll leave the mushrooms out of the picture – I have an intollerance!!

  11. Oh Shakey’s. My mom is from the Philippines. We went back for a visit a couple summers ago, and we went to a nephew’s (the son of a cousin variety) first birthday party at Shakey’s. I don’t remember a pizza joint vibe, but I do remember a person in a chicken costume dancing to Jai Ho, and spending time with family. So thank you for triggering a great memory!

  12. I made this pizza over the weekend, and I loved it! The mushrooms were very flavorful and the anchovies added a wonderful saltiness. This definitely goes on my “favorites” list!

  13. Shakey’s Pizza is one of the kids’ favorite pizza place. You’d be surprised at how many new pizza places there are in the country each claiming to have “authentic” Italian pizza flavors. Competition is good and we get to choose a lot of places to visit :)

  14. Your pizza is absolutely making my mouth water. I love experimenting with toppings…and that shrimp is taking it over the top!!

    Reading this put a smile on my face, more so because I grew up completely opposite from your Philippines…my parents have owned a pizzeria (in NY and now in FL) since I was 4 years old. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent watching my dad make pizza. I still get excited watching my dad throw the dough in the air though :)

  15. I don’t even know how I got to your blog, but I just think it strange because I grew up in the Philippines too. My family lived in Manila. My father works for the Agency for International Development, so we moved from the States to Manila and I lived there until my teen years. I haven’t met many other people from the Philippines. I never did eat Pizza there. It was rare to for us to ever eat American fare. Occasionally we would go to the Air Force Base to get hamburgers and French fries and Strawberry Daiquiris. I really miss living there. Mostly the rice. Well not the brown outs and having to boil water, but other wise I enjoyed my time there.

  16. This such a fabulous pizza, love all of that shrimp!

    Cookin’ Canuck and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other Entrees in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs. We have an awesome Ile De France Cheese giveaway going on. You just need to link up on one site :)

  17. I think your older brother (freak or not) is onto something with the pizza. It looks fantastic!

    Marla (Family Fresh Cooking) and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other entrees in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs. We have a fabulous Ile De France Cheese giveaway. You just need to link up on one site.

  18. Whoa! Looks exquisite! Truly mouthwatering. This is the product of successful ingredient experimentation. I am going to experiment with this soon; add some of my own ingredients. I wonder what Onion Crunch would taste like on top of this amazing pizza. Wish me luck!

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