Cured Salmon Pizza
I enjoy making pizza from scratch and occasionally make a pissaladière, the famous pizza from the south of France. Garnished with rendered onion and a crisscross of anchovy fillets and black olives, it is a staple from Nice to Marseille. In the last few years, with the availability of many flatbreads at the supermarket, I have taken on the habit of making quick pizzas, sometimes using pita bread or lavash as a base, but more often than not using flour tortillas, because I always have a package of them in my refrigerator. They come in different sizes, from 6 to 10 inches, and even in 12-inch disks. These tortilla pizzas are ideal to serve when people come for drinks, or when we play boules and share a bottle of white wine.
The toppings for pizza are almost endless. This, topped with gravlax, is served cold.
1 pizza, with 8 small servings per pizza (multiply as needed)
Cooking Methodbaking, curing
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre, snack
Dietary Considerationhors d'oeuvre, snack
Mealbrunch, dinner, snack
Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, herby, hot & spicy, salty, sweet
Type of Dishpizza
- ½ pound skinless boneless salmon fillet
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- A little oil
- 1 flour tortilla
- Olive oil
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon horseradish, homemade or store-bought
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced very thin
- 6 black oil-cured olives, pitted and cut into pieces
- 7 or 8 fresh basil leaves
- Fleur de sel, for garnish
For the gravlax, cut the salmon into 8 thin slices, and arrange them in a single layer on a flat plate or platter. Mix together the kosher salt, light brown sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle half of this mixture evenly over the salmon slices, turn the slices over, and sprinkle with the remaining seasoning mixture. Spread a thin coating of oil on the slices, just enough to make the salmon shiny, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the salmon. Refrigerate to cure; it will be ready in an hour or less, although you can leave it overnight or even up to a day. (We are using only 4 slices of gravlax on our pizza. Make a second pizza, or enjoy the leftover gravlax with cucumber and/or sliced onion and buttered black bread.)
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Precook the tortilla for this pizza. Coat the tortilla with olive oil, using about ½ teaspoon on each side. Place the oiled tortilla on a cookie sheet and, to prevent it from curling up and bubbling in the oven without the weight of toppings to hold it down, place a rack or cake stand upside down directly on top of the tortilla. The rack will hold it flat as it cooks. Bake for about 5 minutes to brown the tortilla nicely and make it crisp. Let cool before continuing.
When the tortilla is cool, coat with the sour cream, and then spread on the horseradish. (My friend Claude has enormous and pungent horseradish in his garden that he peels, grates, and puts in a jar with a little vinegar, salt, and water.) Arrange 4 slices of gravlax on top, so the salmon covers most of the surface, although it’s attractive if a little sour cream shows through here and there. Sprinkle the sliced red onion on top, and then scatter the olives over the surface. Finally, coarsely tear the basil leaves into pieces, and top the pizza with the basil. Cut the pizza into 8 pieces. Just before eating, I like to sprinkle on a little coarse fleur de sel—that expensive but very flavorful salt–to give it a bit of a crunch.
2007 Jacques Pepin