There some people who have serious aversions to things that I love such as coriander and onions. These are two ingredients that I can't live without and that feature prominently in my day-to-day meals.
These 'people' to whom I refer to is actually a girlfriend of mine who also happens to be a vegetarian or more a pescatarian. She hates onions. especially when they are raw. She will go to great lengths to pick out the offending vegetable from her food and always avoids anything on the menu that may contain them.
For her birthday I treated her to a summer seafood cooking class. We went together and were eagerly anticipating the night's seafood bounty. You can imagine both of our silent horror when several of the recipes prominently featured ONIONS. I cast a sideways glance at her and she at me. We giggled and then both settled into a heavy silence. I said "um, maybe you can push them to the side" to which she replied sweetly, "oh yes, it'll be fine...I'm sure it'll all be delicious."
We watched nervously as the chef prepared the first dish, a smoked salmon pizza with caramelized onions. He dexterously peeled and sliced 15 large brown onions all the while chatting about the process of caramelizing the ominous mountain of onions. She gulped.
The time finally came to eat the pizza which consisted of the caramelized
onions, cold smoked Chinook salmon, crème fraiche, capers and dill. My
friend sniffed it and then tentatively took her first bite. Her eyes
widened. She took another bite and then another. Finally she exclaimed
“It’s delicious!” and promptly helped herself to another piece. It was a
revelation and she hasn’t stopped talking about it since. While she may not
be an onion convert, she certainly has a new-found love for the
The caramelizing of the onions had evaporated that hot, pungent taste that I can see can sometimes be overwhelming for some –- but not me. The onions had been reduced to sweet jam that was the perfect balance to the salty, cold smoked salmon. The chef had made his own crème fraiche by mixing together cream and fresh buttermilk and then letting it sit at room temperature for 3 days.
All this was topped with capers and dill weed flowers, something I hadn’t tried before. The aromatic flowers are like tiny, yellow umbrella-shaped clusters that have a distinct lemony taste.
The pizza is best eaten at room temperature so it makes for an excellent party food. I cheated with the pizza dough and got some ready made at my local Italian deli 'Duso's' on Granville Island. I have however included a good basic pizza dough recipe that I've used before from epicurious.
I'm submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted this week by Diva from Dil Se.
Smoked Salmon Pizza Recipe
350 grams of smoked salmon, thinly sliced
4 brown onions, sliced & evenly
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 tbs of capers
4 tbs of olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Basic pizza dough recipe
- Slice the onions thinly and evenly. Heat oil over a medium-high heat in a large, heavy-based fry-pan. Add the onions and saute until a deep golden brown. This process will take about 25 minutes. Start frying the onions on a medium heat and then gradually lower the heat. Stir the onions occasionally and make sure they don't burn.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300F.
- Roll out the dough and then brush will a little olive oil on both sides. Place dough on a baking tray and then bake for 10-15 minutes. Bubbles may rise in the dough but just pop them once the dough is cooked.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and then top with caramelized onions, and smoked salmon. Sprinkle on capers, dill and top with sour cream.
- Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.