Happy New Year! As I was browsing through my blog feed-reader, I started seeing lots of salad recipes. It happens – I judge not. I completely understand the need for greens after the holidays. Usually, I’d partake. So far, that hasn’t been the case… My new year has been filled with so many burritos you would probably be beside yourself to find out how many. There was also a meal of chicken fried steak, fried eggs, and half a Belgian waffle, but we won’t talk about that yet (as I told my husband – it was my “once a year red meat consumption” albeit did come pretty dang early into 2013!).
That said, I come bearing not a salad recipe (although there’s some “green stuff” in the sauce, right?). I come bringing pizza. Not your typical red-sauced mozzarella topped pizza, but one that was born out of my lovely husband’s statement of “You know, once I had pizza with smoked fish… salmon… and man it was good! I’d love if you’d make that sometime!” And I don’t have to tell you how much I love pizza, even though I’m almost 30, even though I know it shouldn’t be eaten as 3 meals in one day and I eat it that way, anyway…
I am not much of a fan of cold-smoked salmon. You know, the lox style that is slightly sticky, flimsy, raw-looking. I wanted something with a meatier texture for this particular pizza, so I opted for a hot smoked Chinook salmon that was brined in a brown sugar teriyaki sauce and also had a lot of black pepper crust to it. A little fish really does go a long way in flavor for this dish, so don’t balk too much at the price of hot smoked salmon by the pound. This sauce is noticeably lemony, without being overwhelming. Despite being a creamy sauce, it isn’t heavy and! it pairs nicely with the dill, capers, red onion, and fish! I dare you to eat only one slice! :)
Smoked Salmon Pizza with Lemon Dill Sauce
For the sauce:
¼ cup (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1 large lemon, zest and juice
½ tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. pecorino romano cheese
For the pizza:
One large round of pizza dough (enough for a 16-inch pizza)
1½ cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded havarti cheese
0.3 oz. smoked salmon, broken in bite size pieces
2 tbsp. capers
¼ cup red onion, sliced really thinly
Preheat your oven to 550°F, or as high as it will go. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in your oven, too.
Prepare the sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, dill, lemon zest, salt, and garlic. Allow the mixture to cook for a couple minutes. Quickly whisk in the lemon juice until completely incorporated, then add in the milk, also whisking quickly (if things start curdling a bit, don’t worry too much, just keep whisking – it’ll work out fine :). Once the sauce has thickened (anywhere from 7-10 minutes), stir in the romano cheese. Keep the sauce on low heat until needed.
Roll out your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface, using your hands to stretch it out. Place the rolled dough on your preheated pizza stone. Pierce with a fork a few times (to prevent air bubbles). Pre-bake the dough for 2-4 minutes, until barely brown but not at all doughy to the touch.
Remove the dough from your oven and let it cool for couple minutes. Evenly spread the lemon dill sauce all over the crust, then one cup of the shredded mozzarella, followed by your smoked salmon, capers, red onions, then havarti and remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is beautifully golden brown and the cheese is melted to your liking (I prefer it richly brown and blistered, so I’ll generally turn on the broiler for the last minute or so!).
Let the pizza rest about five minutes before cutting and serving.
Makes one large pizza (about 16-inches).