Pizza for Brunch: Pizza with Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon   Recipe
Pizza for Brunch: Pizza with Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon

By Wolfgang Puck

If you're trying to think of something different but perfect to serve for Easter brunch this year, or for brunch any time you want to surprise your guests, let me suggest pizza.

Pizza? I know you're probably raising your eyebrows, even though, like me, you may be one of the millions of people who've secretly enjoyed leftover pizza for breakfast.

But I'm not talking here about the usual pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, and maybe pepperoni. I mean a pizza that is really ideal for a weekend morning meal.

There's nothing wrong with the Italian classics, of course. But ever since 1982, when I opened my first Spago with its two wood-burning pizza ovens, I've been trying to expand the way people think about pizza. We started making what came to be known as California-style gourmet pizzas, with toppings like fresh duck sausage, Santa Barbara shrimps, and smoked salmon.

So it wasn't really a big leap to start thinking about a breakfast pizza. And we finally came up with one when we started a restaurant that would serve breakfast: Postrio, in the Prescott Hotel on San Francisco's Union Square.

When you think about it, pizza makes an ideal breakfast item. There's the dough, nothing more than good, yeasty, crunchy-crusted, fresh-baked bread. The dough recipe I share with you here is easy, and you can prepare it up to a couple of days ahead and have it ready in the refrigerator. For convenience, you can also shape and partially bake the pizza dough in advance, up to but not including the point at which you top it.

Next come scrambled eggs. Moist and creamy, they replace the pizza's sauce. I make sure to undercook them, so that they finish in the oven as the pizza finishes baking.

Cheese, of course, is a must for pizza, and it also goes so well with eggs. I like a mix of good melting cheeses, mozzarella and Fontina; but feel free to substitute your own favorites.

Finally comes the smoked salmon. Look for good-quality smoked fish from a deli or well-stocked market. Thinly sliced and draped over the pizza fresh from the oven, a little goes a long way. If you want an extra-special touch, look for a small jar of salmon roe, adding a small spoonful to each slice before serving.

Of course, once you've mastered your first brunch pizza, you can start dreaming up more of your own. Mix some crispy bacon, crumbled sausage, roasted peppers, or caramelized onions with the eggs, for example. Or, if you can't eat pizza dough this week, turn off the oven, scramble the eggs with the cheese, spread them on a matzo, and top with the salmon for a Spago-style Passover brunch!

Pizza With Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon Recipe

Serves 2

Recipe Ingredients

6 ounces Pizza Dough (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon Chili-Garlic Oil (recipe follows)

4 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese

2 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

Recipe Preparation

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

On a pizza peel or rimless cookie sheet dusted with flour or semolina, stretch the dough into an 8-inch round. Brush with Chili-Garlic Oil. Slide onto the stone and bake until the bottom just starts turning golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the egg mixture and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until slightly set but still very moist, about 4 minutes.

Immediately spread the eggs on the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread the cheeses on top. Return to the oven and cook just until the cheese bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Use the peel or cookie sheet to transfer to a cutting board. Arrange the smoked salmon on top. With a large, heavy knife, cut into wedges. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

Pizza Dough Recipe

Makes 4 6-ounce balls

Recipe Ingredients

1 packet active dry yeast

1-1/2 cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the pizza crusts

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Recipe Preparation

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the honey and stir together. Let sit for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the water is cloudy. Stir in the olive oil.

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until the mixture forms a ball.

Turn out onto a clean, lightly oiled bowl or tray, cover loosely with a damp towel, and leave at cool room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Work each into a ball by pulling downward all around its sides and tucking the pulled-down dough underneath, repeating 4 or 5 times. Then, on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll under your palm until the top feels smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Transfer to a clean tray, cover with a damp towel, and let rest for 1 hour. At this point, the dough may be used or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Chili-Garlic Oil Recipe

Makes about 2 cups

Recipe Ingredients

1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Recipe Preparation

In a small saucepan, combine the garlic and oil. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the garlic begins to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (Do not let the garlic get too brown or the oil will taste bitter.)

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Add the red pepper flakes and infuse for at least 2 hours. Strain through a sieve into a clean glass container. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

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Recipes: "Pizza for Brunch: Pizza with Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon "

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