Smoked Halibut Pizza
At our house, Friday nights are for antipasti. After a week of work and activities, we settle down to a light meal of salami, prosciutto, baguette, cheese, olives, and various marinated vegetables all accompanied by a bottle of wine. Dessert is usually fruit and nuts, so as to accompany nicely the second bottle of wine we inevitably open. I often use leftover vegetables or beans from earlier in the week, or open a jar of artichoke hearts, mushrooms, or red peppers and lightly dress them with olive oil, lemon, and seasonings- all very easy to prepare. Its a relaxing way to end the work week, sitting in front of the fire or outside on the patio leisurely eating and catching up with each other. Even when our kids had plans for Friday night, they would sit around the table and eat a light meal with us before heading out with their friends; sometimes the friends would come in and share in the food and conversation before going out.
Last Friday I was thinking of using the leftover smoked halibut and came up with the idea of using it in a pizza. Let me preface this by saying if you like a thick pizza, smothered in cheese, sauce, and toppings, this will not be the pizza for you. I prefer a thin crispy crust and only one or two toppings and light on the cheese. A search on the internet for halibut pizza resulted in lots of pizzas topped with cheese. Now I have always said I don’t like cheese with seafood, but I decided to try making a second pizza with a light tomato sauce and the halibut to see if I was being a little close minded about the issue.
I use a pizza dough recipe that needs about 3-4 hours of rising time, so I had to plan accordingly. A flavored oil to brush the dough before and after cooking can help to crisp the crust and add flavor; I made an oil flavored with garlic and red pepper flakes to use on this pizza to add some spice. Thinking about flavors that would compliment the smoked fish, I decided to use caramelized onions to add some sweetness and artichoke hearts, because I like them on about everything.
The pizza was cooked on a pizza stone so the crust was crispy. All the toppings were used with a light hand and blended harmoniously; the sweet onions complemented the smoky fish and the artichoke hearts added texture. The flavored oil did elevate the pizza with the garlic and red pepper spiciness coating the crust- not a single crust remained. This is a light meal, perfect for our antipasti night, but probably would not be substantial enough for a main course.
As for the traditional cheese and tomato sauce pizza, it was unremarkable. The cheese obliterates the halibut making it an indistinguishable flavor. I can now say I have tried cheese with seafood and definitely do not like it. Now the smoked halibut pizza with caramelized onions and artichokes- that one I loved and will make again.