It's April's Mystery Box Madness Challenge week at I Heart Cooking Clubs where we make a dish from Jacques Pépin or any former IHCC chef that must include at least three mystery ingredients out of a list of ten.
April's Mystery Box Madness Ingredients:
I did want to cook with Chef Jacques this time and found several recipes with two of the ingredients, and a scallop recipe with three of the MBM ingredients at Saveur (here you go for anyone looking for a scallop dish). But I just wasn't feeling the scallops or the 'fuss.' What I was feeling however, was the Smoked Salmon Pizza from More Fast Food My Way which had two of the MBM ingredients: sour cream and capers. Normally my MBM challenge recipes have had three or more of the ingredients without any substitutions but in this case, Chef Jacques used cilantro to top his pizza and I decided to swap it out for fresh tarragon. A choice I would likely have made even without the need for a third MBM ingredient (not that I don't love cilantro but tarragon or even dill appealed to me more with the smoked salmon and capers). A little bit of a MBM challenge 'cheat' this month but the heart wants what the heart wants and mine REALLY wanted this pizza for dinner.
Jacques says, "I love to make pizza with my own dough, as well as with lavash, tortillas, pita bread, and naan, a wonderful Indian flatbread now available in most markets. I crisp the flatbreads in the oven or in a skillet on top of the stove, then top them with smoked salmon, which is available in different styles from Scotland, Ireland, and Canada at the deli counter. This smoked salmon pizza is great cut into bite-size pieces for hors d'oeuvres."
Smoked Salmon Pizza
Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin
(Makes 4-6 First Course Servings)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 naan flatbreads or other style of flatbread you prefer (I used garlic naan)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp bottled horseradish, drained (I used 3 tsps)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (I did a quick pickle of my red onions--see note below)
8 oz sliced smoked salmon
2 Tbsp drained capers
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I subbed in coarsely chopped fresh tarragon)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush baking sheet or grill pan with oil and turn the naan in the oil to lightly coat both sides. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bread is crusty and brown, or crisp in the pan 3-4 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Let cool to lukewarm.
Mix the sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl. Spread on the bread and sprinkle half of the onion over the sour cream mixture. Arrange the smoked salmon slices on top. Sprinkle the capers over the salmon and add the remaining onion and some freshly ground black pepper. Finally sprinkle with the cilantro (tarragon) leaves. Cut the pizza into wedges or slices and serve.
Quick Pickled Red Onions: This recipe had a lot of red onion in it and I was concerned that if left raw, they would overpower the other flavors. I did a quick pickle with about 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt shaken together in a jar with a very thinly sliced red onion. I left it to sit about 45 minutes before using on the pizza. I also drained the onions for the pizza and patted them dry with paper towels. It took the bite out perfectly. Since I had plenty of leftover onion, I added some to my salad and used a bit of the pickling liquid, mixed with an equal amount of olive oil as dressing.
Notes/Results: This was the perfect busy night dinner with a lightly-dressed "use it up" green salad with (all local) romaine, shaved fennel, and baby tomatoes, topped with some of the onions I pickled for the pizza and shaved Gruyere cheese (a fourth MBM ingredient on the plate). ;-) Such great flavor--if you are a fan of bagels with lox, you will love it. The horseradish I had in the fridge said cream on the bottle and was fairly mild, so I added an extra teaspoon for a little more kick. Pickling the onions is something I would recommend unless you are a fan of them raw. Finally, I really liked the substitution of the tarragon instead of cilantro. It has that nice bittersweet anise flavor that complemented the other ingredients. Quick, simple and so very delicious, I will definitely make it again.
You can see what mystery ingredients, recipes and chefs other participants chose for April's Mystery Box Madness Challenge by checking out the picture links on the post at the IHCC website.