Monday, August 25, 2008

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Making pizza dough may seem time consuming, but the time involved is mostly in waiting for it to rise. I’ve made the pizza dough from The New Basics so many times that I’ve memorized the technique. Warm water, instant yeast, whole wheat flour, and unbleached all purpose flour are combined in a bowl. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and more flour are added. Adding pepper is my own touch. I like pepper, and the specks in the dough are pretty. Stir until dough comes together, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for an hour or longer. So, my process is: make dough, read a book or go to the gym or water the garden for an hour or two, then punch down dough, knead it a few times, and let it rest while prepping the toppings and heating the oven to 475.

Then, the creativity begins. Sometimes, the dough is used for one big baking sheet-sized rectangle of pizza. Other times, I divide it into smaller rounds which are baked individually on a stone. There are no limits to the realm of possibilities for toppings. Yesterday, I took inspiration from Jacques Pepin’s Chez Jacques for a smoked salmon pizza. This is found in the Tortilla Pizzas section. Obviously, I didn’t use a tortilla for the crust, but I did opt for the smaller round of dough baked on the stone. A tortilla sounds like a great idea for a really quick pizza, but I think it would be extremely thin and unwieldy. This section in the book also includes directions for curing your own salmon, but here I took the easy way out and used store-bought, wild sockeye, smoked salmon.
I baked a round of dough, let it cool to room temperature, and topped it as Pepin suggested. Sour cream was combined with horseradish, the salmon was draped on top, thin slices of red onion were added, provencal olives were strewn about, and a sprinkling of chopped basil and sea salt and pepper completed it. (As a side note, my fabulous cherry pitter works very well for olives too.)
The pizza was excellent. Crispy, thin, whole wheat crust capably supported the cool, salty, pungent, delicious toppings. The horseradish with the salmon and then the bite of the olive; well, it was so very good. It occurred to me that this would make great party food. The pizza could be assembled, cut into bite-sized pieces in advance, and kept chilled.

What happened with the remaining pizza dough? Two other creations followed. First, parmigiana with basil, Aleppo pepper, olive oil, and sea salt.
Then, anchovy, olive oil, rosemary, and Aleppo pepper. Both of these were delicious, but the smoked salmon pizza was the star of the show. This parade of pizzas filled our evening with a lot of crunchy, savory, contented eating.

6 comments:

  1. that's such a great idea: anything with smoked salmon is great!

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  2. Smoked slamon pizza sounds good!

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  3. What a great pizza! I love this idea for brunch. Yummy.

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  4. Brunch is a great idea. I was thinking about serving it with cocktails and didn't even think of brunch!

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  5. do you have the recipe for the pizza dough? it looks yummy!

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