Smoked salmon and smoked mackerel pizza

I wouldn’t have thought of putting precious smoked salmon on a pizza, and I’d certainly never have paired it with something as powerfully flavoured as smoked mackerel. However, I had this combination last summer at a cider bar called The Stable in Weymouth, and it was so good that as soon as I’d finished I immediately ordered another one. Not many foods inspire such greed in me – just as well, as I’d be 20-stone bloater if I ate like that every day.

Without a proper pizza oven it’s not possible to make such a light and crispy base as they had at The Stable, but this is as close as I could get with slightly more modest kitchen equipment (a breadmaker, a normal oven and a 30cm cast iron crêpe pan).

The base

225g strong white flour
150ml water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fact acting dried yeast

The tomato sauce (makes enough for two pizzas)

400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs (oregano, thyme, etc)
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
ground black pepper
1 piece of parmesan cheese rind (optional)

The topping

200g smoked salmon
200g smoked mackerel
250g mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh dill

Whack all the base ingredients in the breadmaker and set it to the dough cycle. It will take about 90 minutes and requires no attention.

To make the sauce, gently fry the onions in the olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the sauce is thick. I’d recommend you use the parmesan rind, as it adds a nice savoury depth of flavour – it’s like natural monosodium glutamate. Remove it after cooking. Top tip: every time you finish a piece of parmesan, wrap the rind in greaseproof paper and freeze it, so you’ll have a constant supply.

When the dough is ready, roll it out into a thin circle, a little bigger than 30cm (12 inches) on a well-floured surface. Turn the oven on to maximum temperature and heat the crêpe pan (or pizza stone, if you have one) in preparation for receiving the base.

Carefully position the hot pan / stone near to the rolled-out pizza base. Sprinkle it with a fine dusting of polenta to prevent it from sticking. Slide the base onto the pan / stone and crimp the edges a little, to make a lip that will help retain the deep topping.

Spread half the tomato sauce over the base (this was a double quantity, remember – the rest will keep for a few days in the fridge), then scatter over half the mozzarella. Randomly dot the surface with big chunks of salmon and mackerel, then scatter over the rest of the cheese so that some of the fish is covered and some is exposed. Add the cherry tomato halves and bake in the top half of the oven for around eight minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling. Finish with fresh dill.

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