It’s not often I eat pizza. While of course I like it, the fact that most are loaded with cheese is enough of a deterrent for my lactose sensitive self to order something different.
This is why making pizza is so fun! I tried a new pizza crust today, the winner of the pizza contest on Food 52. If you haven’t checked out Food 52, you absolutely must! It’s a really cool project where the public submits and votes on recipes for a cookbook that will be published later this year. (To toot my own horn a bit, I won one of the contests last summer!)
This recipe by TasteFood truly is a winner! It was easy to make and crisped up beautifully in the oven. I made half the recipe which was enough for two medium-smallish pizzas and cooked them at a higher temperature than the recipe stated. The only problem I had was getting the pizza onto the hot stone as I don’t own a pizza peel. It would’ve turned out prettier but at least the taste wasn’t affected.
While a peel would make life easier, a pizza stone really is essential to get a good, crisp crunch. Mine was inexpensive (from Target I think) and fairly small for easy storage, but it gets the job done.
And as for the unconventional toppings of chive cream cheese (in my case non-dairy cream cheese), smoked salmon, shallots, tomatoes and watercress? Absolutely divine and a new favorite that all must try! Trust me, you’ll thank for me for it someday!
Here’s the recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza:
Pizza Crust (halved from Food 52)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons semolina flour
1 3/4 cup AP flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 cup smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
6 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup watercress, rough stems removed
To make the pizza crust, stir in the yeast and lukewarm water together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the semolina flour and 2 tablespoons of the AP flour. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes in a warm spot.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 cup flour, salt, cold water and olive oil to the yeast mixture. Mix well using the dough hook attachment and knead at medium speed 8 minutes until the dough becomes very smooth and elastic. Pour a thin layer of oil in a medium bowl and add the dough; lightly coat all sides in oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours, then punch down and let rise again 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 500°F with the pizza stone on the center rack.
Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle a work surface with semolina flour and use your fingers to shape the dough into thin disks. Brush a thin layer of olive oil over the crusts.
To make the “sauce,” combine the cream cheese and chives in a small bowl and mix well. Spread evenly over the pizza crusts, then top evenly with the smoked salmon, cherry tomato slices, shallots, garlic and sea salt.
Transfer the pizza to the hot stone and bake at 500°F for 8 minutes or until the crust is lightly puffed and golden around the edges. Note: depending on the size of your pizza stone, you may have to bake them one at a time.**
Remove the pizza from the oven and top with watercress. Slice and serve warm.
**If you only want to make one pizza, wrap the remaining dough in plastic and refrigerate. Allow to return to room temperature before using.