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Live, Love, Eat!: Pizza with Smoked Salmon and Caviar

This is Wolfgang Puck's most famous pizza, the signature dish of his restaurant Spago. It's outstanding. I highly recommend giving it a whirl.

Even if you don't have much experience with pizza dough, you'll find this easy to make. The dough is extremely easy to work with. The pizza is basically a combination of three different subrecipes: Pizza Dough, Chili and Garlic Oil, and Dill Cream. If you make all of these elements in advance, assembly of the pizza will take only a few minutes.

It's a very attractive pizza, the pink salmon contrasting nicely with the green chives and white Dill Cream. It would make an excellent appetizer for a holiday party, or a fantastic brunch entrée. The caviar is optional; I skipped it, since I'm not a huge caviar fan, and the pizza does not suffer at all from its absence.

The recipe instructs the cook to bake the pizza on a pizza stone, but all is not lost if you don't have one. Use a regular baking sheet and cook the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven. To help prevent sticking, sprinkle a bit of cornmeal or semolina on the baking sheet just before you put the pizza dough on it. Puck notes that to make this recipe ahead of time, you can bake the pizza for 5 minutes, then remove it from the oven and set aside. When ready to serve, return it to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove it, top it, and serve. I'd only bake the pizzas about 1 hour ahead. Any longer and they will start to get hard.

Assembly instructions are for each individual 8-inch pizza. Repeat for each pizza, or increase the topping amounts if you're making 2 larger pies.

Pizza Dough

Prep Time: about 1 hour
Yield: enough dough for 4 eight-inch pizzas, or 2 twelve-inch pizzas
Make Ahead: up to 2 days

1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

Dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water in a small bowl.

In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes together and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.

(To make the dough in a food processor: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the yeast mixture, water, and oil and process until the dough begins to form a ball that rides around the side of the bowl on top of the blade.)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 to 3 minutes longer. The dough should feel smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp cloth and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes (when ready, the dough will stretch easily as it is lightly pulled).

Divide the dough into four balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking them under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times to form a smooth, even ball. Then, on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Repeat with each ball. Cover the balls with the damp cloth and let them rest for 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Chili and Garlic Oil

Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours to infuse at room temperature
Yield: 1/2 cup
Make Ahead: 2 to 3 weeks

The recipe in the book makes 2 cups of oil. This is way more than I'd use in a couple of weeks, so I've reduces the proportions. To make more oil, double the ingredients (for 1 cup) or quadruple the ingredients (for 2 cups).

About 6 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan, combine the garlic and oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook until the garlic turns golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook; if the garlic gets too brown, it will taste bitter.

Remove from heat and stir in the red pepper flakes. Leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours to infuse the oil. Strain into a glass jar or container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.


Dill Cream

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: about 1 3/4 cups
Make Ahead: up to 1 week

1 1/2 cups sour cream or crème fraîche
3 Tbsp minced shallots
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

To Assemble the Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pizzas:
For each 8-inch pizza:
1 ball of Pizza Dough
1 Tbsp Chili and Garlic Oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp Dill Cream
2 1/2 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 tsp fresh chopped chives
1 Tbsp caviar or salmon roe, optional

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven (use pizza stone on the middle rack; baking sheet on the lower rack).

On a lightly floured surface, stretch or roll out the dough into an 8-inch circle. Brush the dough with the Chili and Garlic Oil and arrange the red onion on the pizza. Slide the pizza onto the baking sheet or pizza stone with a pizza paddle or large spatula. Bake until the crust is golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven and set it on a cutting board or work surface. Use a knife or the back of a spoon to spread with the Dill Cream. Arrange the slices of smoked salmon over the entire pizza. Sprinkle with chives. Using a pizza cutter or large sharp knife, slice the pizza into 4 or 6 slices. If you like, spoon a little caviar into the center of each slice. Serve immediately.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.