Obsessed with all things smoked salmon, whether it's this Smoked Salmon Pizza inspired by Wolfgang Puck's at his Beverly Hills restaurant Spago, a classic smoked salmon platter, layered onto a loaded bagel, blanketed over my face like a sheet mask... whatever, you know. Shall we?
- What is Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Health Benefits of Smoked Salmon
- What Ingredients You Need for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Instructions for How to Make Smoked Salmon Pizza
- What Kind of Smoked Salmon Should I Use for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Substitutions and Variations
- Pro Tips and Techniques for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Tools and Equipment
- Leftovers and Storage
- What Else to Serve with Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Best Wine Pairing for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Smoked Salmon Pizza
What is Smoked Salmon Pizza
You might already be familiar with Smoked Salmon Pizza. As so many recipe inventions borne of necessity, Chef Wolfgang Puck created the now-famous pizza in the early 1980s at his restaurant Spago when Joan Collins ordered smoked salmon. The kitchen had run out of either brioche toast or bagels—who's to remember which it was so long ago—so Chef Puck improvised by baking a round of pizza dough, spreading it with crème fraîche, and layering smoked salmon. The smoked salmon pizza is still on the Spago menu today!
Spago's pizza dish inspired my own recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza, two different ways. One version is similar to Chef Puck's original creation, and the other version takes on a Loaded Bagel vibe with Everything Bagel Seasoning on the pizza crust and cream cheese instead of crème fraîche. Both versions, of course, include paper thin slices of red onion, chopped chives, and if you're feeling luxe, sliced avocado and dollops of caviar.
Health Benefits of Smoked Salmon
Omega-3s in Salmon. When we talk about the health benefits of salmon, we are almost always talking about the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, the all-star anti-inflammatory compound associated with supporting gut health and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammation-induced diseases. Salmon is one of the highest concentration, highest quality sources of omega-3 fatty acids, containing 2,150 mg per 3-ounce serving.
Nutrients in Salmon. Salmon is also one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. In addition to the high levels of above-mentioned omega-3s, salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B12 for cellular energy, vitamin D which our bodies cannot make on our own, and the essential mineral selenium that has antioxidant properties that protect the heart, reduce cognitive decline, and boost immunity. (source: NIH)
What Ingredients You Need for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- thin sliced cold smoked salmon
- pizza or flatbread dough
- crème fraîche or plain yogurt
- fresh chives and dill
- sliced red onions
- optional: avocado, salmon roe and caviar
Instructions for How to Make Smoked Salmon Pizza
Smoked Salmon Pizza is less a recipe and more of a very simple Assembly Instructions guide.
1. Make Pizza Crust: Heat oven to 500°F. Stretch pizza dough into the thinnest possible 6-8-inch circle onto a baking sheet.
2. Gently pinch the edges of the circle of pizza dough to make it a little thicker into a raised border.
3. Brush the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle raised edge with Everything seasoning if using.
Bake pizza dough 6-8 minutes or according to instructions if using packaged dough, until golden brown. Remove baked pizza crust from oven and let cool on countertop for 5-10 minutes.
Assemble Smoked Salmon Pizza: Spread a thin layer of creme fraiche, yogurt, or cream cheese over the baked pizza crust, leaving the raised edges.
Layer smoked salmon over the creme fraiche. You can lay the salmon slices flat, or ruffle them slightly for a more textured aesthetic.
Sprinkle smoked salmon with chopped chives, dill, sliced red onions, and capers if using.
Opt to Make it Even More Luxe: Add dollops of caviar and salmon roe.
Pro-tip: You can make Smoked Salmon Pizza even less complicated by using a pre-baked crust or flatbread that you just have to re-heat!
What Kind of Smoked Salmon Should I Use for Smoked Salmon Pizza
Cold smoked vs hot smoked salmon? Smoked vs cured salmon? And what is lox? Do King, Coho, and Atlantic salmon types apply to smoked salmon?
There are actually a few different types of that fish we collectively refer to as "smoked salmon." But for most intents and purposes, and this Smoked Salmon Pizza in particular, look for salty, silky, slippery smoked salmon in paper-thin, nearly translucent slices. If the smoked salmon is made from wild, Pacific salmon, even better!
The most luxurious smoked salmon I get is from Petrossian, which is also where I get the accompanying caviar. You can find high quality smoked salmon in the fish or deli section of many grocery stores now.
For everything you ever wanted to know about smoked salmon, the different types, favorite brands, and best recipes, check out this post.
Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Pizza Dough. I usually pick up a fresh pizza dough from the refrigerator case at Whole Foods market when I shop for the rest of the ingredients. If I make a dough from scratch, I almost always use this NO-FAIL 2-INGREDIENT dough. Use any pizza dough (including gluten-free if necessary!) or make one from scratch using your favorite recipe.
- Olive Oil. I used this olive oil that's pretty widely available, though it is not organic.
- Everything Seasoning. Everything Bagel Seasoning is available now almost everywhere, most famously first at Trader Joe's. You can mix your own Everything Seasoning with dried onion, dried garlic, flaky sea salt, toasted sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. I use it for Smoked Salmon Pizza that leans more toward a loaded smoked salmon bagel rather than a classic smoked salmon and caviar service.
- Crème fraîche. Crème fraîche is a French-style cultured cream that has a slight tang. Grocery stores carry it in the same refrigerated section as sour cream and yogurt. An almost exact substitute for crème fraîche is sour cream. If you like the flavor of yogurt, use that for the added probiotic benefit!
- Yogurt. If you can't find crème fraîche and want to substitute yogurt, opt for a plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt, which is thicker and will spread and stay in place better on the pizza.
- Cream Cheese. Use cream cheese if your Smoked Salmon Pizza is going for a more Bagel-y vibe.
- Capers. Use the small, non-pareil capers in liquid brine. If you use capers in dry salt, soak the capers in plain water for about 15 minutes. This store brand is organic.
- Caviar and Salmon Roe. I get my caviar and salmon roe from Petrossian, which has retail stores in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. You can also order caviar online.
- All other fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on Wednesday, or Whole Foods Market when I can't find what I need at the farmers' market.
Substitutions and Variations
In addition to the above-mentioned substitutions for ingredients that you may not be able to find, here are substitutions and variations to make Smoked Salmon Pizzas suitable for certain diets and lifestyles:
- dairy-free. To make Smoked Salmon Pizza dairy-free, use a dairy-free cream or cream cheese. These are dairy-free brands I have tried:
- gluten-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, use a gluten-free pizza dough or cauliflower crust. This significantly changes the flavor of the final pizza, but I'm sure you already know that.
- refined sugar-free. As is, this recipe is refined sugar-free as long as you make sure there is no refined sugar in the pizza dough (read the package label or the ingredients list in the recipe).
Pro Tips and Techniques for Smoked Salmon Pizza
- On salmon serving sizes: I generally allot 3 to 4 ounces of smoked salmon for each serving. Smoked salmon is inherently meant for longer term storage, so buy a little extra for yourself. Leftover smoked salmon will keep for about three days in the refrigerator.
- Advance Cooking. You can bake off the pizza crust a day in advance, wrap it air-tight and store in refrigerator, then simply re-heat the crust before assembling the rest of the Smoked Salmon Pizza.
Tools and Equipment
As I always say, you don't need any special equipment to make almost any recipe. However, that's not to say there are a couple of gadgets and tools that might make it a LOT easier to get Smoked Salmon Pizza from your fridge to face.
- Baking Sheets.
- Pizza Stone.
- Pizza Cutter.
- All-purpose 7-inch chef's knife .
- Large Cutting Board. A large size cutting board is stable, sturdy, and has enough surface area to prep multiple vegetables
- Mandoline to make paper-thin slices of red onions.
- Large Wooden Serving Board 28x16-inch. No matter what I'm serving on it—whether it's cheese, charcuterie, or Smoked Salmon Pizzas—everyone asks about the extra large wooden board I use and this is the one. Fair warning: it's huge.
Leftovers and Storage
Once assembled, the Smoked Salmon Pizza does not keep well, so try to make only what you will eat at the time.
If you really do have leftovers, the best you can do is to gently remove the salmon from the pizza and store it in a separate air-tight container or zipper top plastic baggie in the refrigerator for up to one day. Wrap pieces of the pizza in a separate plastic wrap or in a zipper top plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator. When you want to eat the leftovers, reheat the pizza base in a skillet over medium-heat until just warmed through, and add the leftover salmon back to the pizza.
Once assembled, Smoked Salmon Pizza does not stand up well to freezing.
What Else to Serve with Smoked Salmon Pizza
A few slices of Smoked Salmon Pizza with omega-3-rich salmon can be an entire meal by itself. But if you'd like something fresh and green on the side to accompany it, or the Smoked Salmon Pizza is part of a menu of hors d'oeuvre, try these recipes and ideas:
- Caesar-ish tri-colore salad with an Anchovy Vinaigrette, staying right in the ocean theme
- Roasted broccoli or asparagus, or steamed if you want to keep all your cooking on the stovetop
- toss together sliced cucumber, snap peas, and avocado with olive oil and lemon juice for a super fresh and bright balance for the luxuriously rich smoked salmon
Best Wine Pairing for Smoked Salmon Pizza
Without a doubt, Champagne, the real kind from the Champagne region in France (lol iykyk), is the best wine pairing for Smoked Salmon Pizza. Here's why:
- Bubbles in any crisp sparkling wine work with the salty, smoky, and rich with natural oils in smoked salmon in general. Accompaniments like capers, red onions, and of course caviar are equally briny and robustly flavored
- Champagne's high acidity can cut through the richness of the creamy ingredients like crème fraîche, cream cheese, or yogurt
- Toasty, yeasty Champagne specifically highlights the toasty qualities of the pizza crust.
If you're "not a sparkling wine person," first of all how dare you, and second of all, you have options for still wines. Look to high-acid, subtle citrus white wines to cut through the fat and full-bodied, dry rosé for balance.
Best wines to pair with smoked salmon:
- Krug is one of my favorites of the big Champagne houses
- Sparkling Rosé, try Caraccioli Cellars Brut Rosé, from California
- bold fruity rosé like a grenache rosé
For more tips on what wine to drink with different types of salmon in general, check out this comprehensive guide on Wine Pairing with Salmon. It even includes specific brands and producers!
Estimate 3-4 ounces of smoked salmon per person as a light appetizer served with other accompaniments.
Add these Smoked Salmon Recipes to Your Repertoire
Yes, we are obsessed with omega-3-rich salmon in its fast, easy smoked format, why do you ask?
- Classic Smoked Salmon Platter
- Smoked Salmon and Caviar Platter
- Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Latkes Platter
- Smoked Salmon Spread with Goat Cheese
- Smoked Salmon Benedict aka Eggs Royale
Smoked Salmon Pizza
- 16 ounces pizza dough
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup crème fraîche, sour cream, or plain unsweetened yogurt
- 8-10 ounces thin sliced cold smoked salmon
- 50 g caviar
- ¼ red onion, sliced paper-thin lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- optional: sliced avocado, minced fresh dill, Everything Bagel seasoning, capers
Bake Pizza Crust
- Heat oven to 500°F. Split pizza dough into two pieces. Stretch each pizza dough into the thinnest possible 6- to 8-inch circle and place onto a baking sheet if they fit onto one, or two smaller baking sheets.
- Gently pinch the edges of the circle of pizza dough to make it a little thicker into a raised rim. Brush the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle raised edge with Everything seasoning if using.
- Bake pizza doughs 6-8 minutes or according to instructions if using packaged dough, until golden brown. Remove baked pizza crust from oven and let cool on countertop for 5-10 minutes.
Assemble Smoked Salmon Pizza
- Spread a thin layer of crème fraîche, yogurt, or cream cheese over the baked pizza crust, leaving the raised edges.
- Layer smoked salmon over the crème fraîche. You can lay the salmon slices flat, or ruffle them slightly for a more textured aesthetic.
- Opt to Make it Even More Luxe: Add dollops of caviar and salmon roe.
- Sprinkle smoked salmon with chopped chives, dill, sliced red onions, and capers if using.