My blog updates have been fewer and farther between than I’d like over the past month. My father has been in the hospital with a terminal illness, and has just passed away after losing a battle with lung cancer at the age of 81.
I’ve asked a few close friends to help me out for a bit with guest posts until I’m able to get back to blogging. Who knows, maybe this will persuade them to start blogs of their own (hint, hint). I know you will enjoy their contributions.
First up is RuthAnn, aka Kitchen Witch, with an amazing smoked salmon pizza. Listen to Bill, RuthAnn. The world needs a blog from you. I’m so glad you agreed to do this.
My husband has been after me for some time to write a blog and says I need to share my pizzas with others, so they won’t be stuck with frozen pizzas or awful delivery ones. So when my dear friend Jennifer called for some guest bloggers, I figured the time was now.
Homemade dough is the key, I think, along with great toppings. Following is pretty bulletproof pizza dough and it’s really forgiving. I can make it an hour before I want to make a pizza, or I will often stir it together in the morning, without kneading it, and pop it in the fridge until the evening. The recipe makes enough for two pizzas, and after making one pizza, the remaining dough can be frozen, or kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – the flavor improves with age as the dough ferments. Just remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you are ready to start. The time it takes to preheat the oven is usually sufficient.
Now, I put this together with ingredients from the local market. You can go to your local cheese and fish mongers and get fancier cheese and really plush lox, but even with ordinary market ingredients, this makes a pizza that is readily accessible and has an elegant simplicity and (at least in my house) was eagerly consumed by both husband and children.
Best Ever Pizza Dough
- 500 grams flour (about 3.5 cups)
- 8 grams of dry yeast (about 1.75 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups of warm water
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Mix flour, and salt in bowl and make a well in center.
- Mix yeast with a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water and let rest until foamy.
- Pour yeast, olive oil and the rest of the water into flour, mix and knead until smooth.
- Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour until doubled.
- Knock down dough and divide in half. Makes two pizza crusts.
Smoked Salmon Pizza
- 1/2 recipe of Best Ever Pizza dough
- Olive Oil
- 8 oz. of Havarti Cheese, grated
- 1-2 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon of Capers, rinsed briefly
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 oz. Cold Smoked Salmon (Lox)
- ½ Cup Sour Cream or Crème Fraiche
- Dried Dill Weed
- Preheat oven (with a pizza stone, if you have one) to 480 degrees F. If you don’t have a pizza stone, try placing a couple rimless cookie sheet in the oven before heating – having the dough on a hot surface helps give a great crispy bottom crust.
- Dust a sheet of parchment paper lightly with flour and generously with cornmeal. Dust dough lightly with flour and roughly shape it by hand to desired shape (my pizza stone is rectangular, so that’s what I do… round, square, rectangular, have at it.) Lay dough down onto parchment and roll to desired thickness. We prefer thin.
- Brush dough with olive oil and then sprinkle with a little of the dill weed.
- Scatter 3/4 of the grated Havarti, arrange tomatoes over cheese, then finish with the remaining Havarti.
- Sprinkle red onion and capers over the cheese. I like to reserve a little red onion to add to the pizza after baking.
- Transfer to the pizza stone (I leave it on the parchment.)
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
- While the pizza is baking, stir together sour cream and a ½ teaspoon of dill weed. Add salt to taste.
- Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. After resting, top with smoked salmon and reserved red onion. Serve with a little of the sour cream dill sauce and additional capers, if desired.
- Makes 4 generous servings (assuming several will want more than one slice.)