In case you haven't noticed, this week's obsession revolves around the Oscars. I'm planning a big viewing party where we will discuss the stars, the movies, and most importantly the dresses(!). Yesterday I made golden, elegant invitations and today I'm figuring out what I will be serving. Since Wolfgang Puck caters the Oscars after party every year I am making a meal that consists of real dishes that the stars will be eating (think about it: Leo and I could both be popping garlic aioli bruschetta in our mouths at the exact same moment!).
This is the second installment of this menu, for the delectable dessert that you certainly do not want to miss come back later this afternoon. To see what I'm cooking up as the main dish (yes it does involve caviar!) for the dinner,
At the Governor's Ball, the stars will be able to select dishes and tapas from a sushi station, a seafood station, and a buffet of beef, chicken, and lobster. I'm serving a lighter menu of dishes chosen from Puck's list of pizza and salad. It's not an ordinary pizza and salad though, its extravagant-good-enough-for-Meryl Streep pizza and salad:
Smoked Salmon Pizza with French Farm-Raised Osetra Caviar and Dill Crème Fraiche
. Wondering what I'll be making for dessert? You'll have to wait until later this afternoon to see the final part of this stellar menu. If you feel like serving a little sushi on the side, order what Puck will be offering from your favorite Japanese restaurant - an assortment of maki: spicy tuna, lobster, avocado, california, smoked salmon and vegetable, and a variety of nigiri: big eye tuna, yellowtail, snapper, salmon, unagi, and shrimp.
3 to 4 ounces smoked salmon
1 recipe Pizza Dough, recipe follows
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, cut into julienne strips
1/4 bunch fresh dill, minced, plus 4 small sprigs, for garnish
1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
Freshly ground pepper
4 heaping tablespoons domestic golden (whitefish) caviar
heaping teaspoon black caviar
- Before you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside for 30 minutes to 500 degrees F.
- Cut the salmon into paper-thin slices. Reserve.
- Roll or stretch the dough into 4 (8-inch) circles. Place the pizzas on a lightly floured wooden peel.
- Brush the center of each pizza to within 1 inch of the edge with olive oil and sprinkle it with some of the red onion. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake 8 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven.
- Mix the dill with the sour cream or creme fraiche and freshly ground pepper to taste. Transfer the pizzas to heated dinner plates and spread them with the sour cream mixture.
- Divide the salmon, and arrange decoratively over the cream. Place a spoonful of golden caviar in the center of each pizza, then spoon a little of the black caviar into the center of the golden caviar.
Makes 4 (8-inch) pizzas.
1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water.
- In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
- (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball).
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm.
- Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
- Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
- Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough.
- Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough.
1 1/2 pounds large yellow or red beets, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 recipe Herbed Goat Cheese, recipe follows, cut into 8 round slices
1 to 1 1/2 cups mixed baby lettuces, washed and dried
1/4 cup Spago House Dressing, recipe follows
1/4 cup Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette, recipe follows
1 ounce toasted hazelnuts, recipe follows, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the beets in a small roasting pan and pour in enough cold water to reach about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the beets. Cover the pan with foil, and roast the beets until they are tender, 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- To check for doneness, gently insert a bamboo skewer into a beet. The skewer should slide through easily. Remove the beets from the pan, allow to cool, and then peel.
- Cut each beet into 1/4-inch-thick round slices. Cut each slice with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. (You will need 10 rounds). Cut trimmings into 1/4-inch dice and reserve 1/2 cup for garnish.
- In a saute pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Lower to a simmer and poach beets 1 minute on each side. With a slotted spatula, remove and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to assemble, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan. Arrange the slices of Herbed Goat Cheese in the pan and warm slightly, turning them with a small spatula just to warm both sides. This has to be done quickly, or the cheese will melt.
- To assemble the napoleons, place 1 of the beet rounds on a firm, flat surface and begin to layer. Top with a slice of goat cheese, then another beet round, a second slice of cheese, another beet round, a third slice of cheese, and a beet round. (Continue until you have 5 layers of beets and 4 layers of cheese.) Carefully cut through layers, dividing into 3 wedges. Repeat with the remaining beets and cheese.
- To serve, arrange 3 of the wedges, pointed ends facing out, in a circle in the center of each plate.
- Toss the baby lettuces with the Spago House Dressing and mound half of the lettuces on top of each arranged napoleon.
- Drizzle 1/2 of the Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette around each mound. Sprinkle toasted nuts and reserved diced beets on top of drizzled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Herbed Goat Cheese:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (7 or 8-ounce) log goat cheese
- Combine the parsley, chives, thyme, and pepper and place on a flat surface.
- Roll the log of cheese in the mixture, coating all sides and retaining the shape of the log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 (7 or 8-ounce) log.
Spago House Salad Dressing:
2 large shallots, minced (1 heaping tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons zinfandel vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Freshly ground white pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots and the mustard. Whisk in the vinegars and then the olive and vegetable oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 1/4 cups.
Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette:
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup hazelnut oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice to a boil. Lower to a simmer and reduce until only 1/3 cup remains. Cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, shallot, thyme, vinegar and orange zest.
- Slowly whisk in both oils until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 1/3 cups.
1 cup hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange the hazelnuts on a medium baking tray and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. (This can be done in a toaster oven).
- Remove to a clean towel and rub to remove as much of the skin as possible. Chop coarsely and use when needed.
Makes 1 cup.