Salmon, caper and cream cheese pizza

Chelsea Winter

 

There’s a great little Italian restaurant I often go to with my girlfriend, and for a while the salmon pizza was all we ate. I make my version of it at home now and it’s still one of my favourites. Don’t forget to give it a good squeeze of lemon before you eat it.

Serves 4

1 quantity pizza dough (or use Turkish pizza bases)

¾C pizza sauce

handful freshly grated parmesan

½C cream cheese

10 smoked salmon pieces

3–4 tomatoes, topped and sliced

1T capers

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

few handfuls rocket

squeeze of lemon

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

 

Pizza dough:

1 1/2C warm water

1t sugar

2t dried yeast

4C plain flour

1t salt

1/4C extra virgin olive oil

 

Whisk warm water, sugar and dried yeast together in a bowl until well combined. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the mixture foams. Sift flour into a bowl with salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Use a spatula to bring the mixture together from the centre in a brisk stirring motion, then use clean hands to form a soft dough.

Place the dough ball on a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes – the dough should end up very stretchy and smooth. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, cut a criss-cross shape in the top, cover with cling film, and set aside in a warm place (such as the hot water cupboard or in front of the heater) for 30 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. The ideal temperature is 21-25°C.

Punch down the risen dough a couple of times to knock the air out of it. Divide the dough into balls, depending on how many pizzas you want. The dough can be placed in ziplock bags and frozen at this point. Roll out and top with your favourite toppings.

 

Pizza sauce: makes about 2 cups. 

This pizza sauce is delicious and pretty versatile. Leftover sauce can be tossed through pasta or used like a relish in a sandwich.

olive oil for cooking

½ onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1T tomato paste

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

1t sugar

1t vinegar

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

¼C chopped fresh basil leaves

Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 3–5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Turn down the heat, stir and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes until reduced to a nice thick sauce. 

You can either use it as it is or purée for a smoother texture – it’s up to you. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir through the fresh basil.

 

Putting it altogether:

Preheat the oven to 220°C fan-bake (or as hot as your oven will go). Place your pizza stone or baking tray in the centre of the oven to heat up. 

Roll out a portion of pizza dough on a clean, floured bench top to your desired pizza size, then place on a clean, dry baking tray dusted with a good amount of semolina or flour to prevent the pizza sticking. 

Spread the sauce over the base and sprinkle with the parmesan. Add teaspoon-sized blobs of cream cheese all over the pizza, then scatter with the smoked salmon pieces. Arrange the tomato slices around the pizza, then sprinkle the capers over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone or baking tray, and replace in the centre of the oven. Cook until the pizza base is crispy, about 10–12 minutes, with a pizza stone, or 15–18 minutes on a tray.

Remove from the oven, arrange a little pile of rocket in the middle, then squeeze over a little lemon juice and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Chelsea Winter is the young Aucklander who dazzled judges and won the hearts of Kiwis when she won series 3 of MasterChef in 2012. Chelsea’s first cookbook “At My Table” was released in April. For more of Chelsea’s recipes visit www.chelseawinter.co.nz