Pizza with Braised Lentils, Hot Smoked Salmon and Pea Puree

Hi all - this bloody delicious creation was inspired by the very clever and talented people at La Cigale in Auckland who do a puff pastry tart using lentils, salmon and pea puree - and this is kind of my tribute to it in a pizza form. Seeing as Rich has been in Shanghai with Nick for the last four days I thought I should do a little entertaining, so had a few girlfriends over for drinks the other night and this was the most popular of the dishes I made. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but the earthiness of the lentils with the slight oiliness of the fish and the freshness of the peas are just the most fantastic combination. I re-made it to photograph this morning and consequently had a piece for breakfast at 9am, and it was good even that early...the only downside is my fingers still smelt vaguely of salmon when I went to yoga, not optimal in endless downward dogs! I made these using homemade pizza bases, but bought ones would be totally fine too. Having had the last week completely solo I have to say, I feel like I have been on holiday - rejuvenated and thanks to all the yoga, very calm and zen-like. Long may it last! (famous last words).

1 cup French green lentils
2 bay leaves
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large stick celery, finely diced
1/2 big carrot, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, crushed

Put lentils in a saucepan and cover (by at least 6 or 7cm) with cold water. Add bay leaves, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until just tender. Drain well,  rinse under cold running water and drain again and fold through vinegar. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and cook celery and carrot over a medium/gentle heat for 10 minutes with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic and lentils and cook 2 minutes, then put aside.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, outer tough leaves removed, ends trimmed, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
2 cups frozen peas
2 spring onions, chopped
6-7 mint leaves
1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil and butter in a large deep pot. Add onion and leek with plenty of sea salt and black pepper and cook over a medium/gentle heat for about 10-12 minutes until the leeks are softened. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then cook 8-10 minutes so that chicken stock is a quite reduced before adding the cream, peas, spring onions and mint. Bring back up to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat, add Parmesan and use a stick blender to whiz until smooth.

To assemble:
3-4 pizza bases ( I made my own using the recipe here)
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
400g good quality hot smoked salmon
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to super-hot - for me it was 220˚C (425˚F) and heat up two oven trays. Put your pizza bases on two sheets of baking paper. (Depending on the size of your bases you may have enough to make 3-4 pizzas). Sprinkle each with a fine layer of Parmesan. Generously sprinkle over lentils then plop on tablespoons of pea puree. Top with salmon broken into chunks and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Slide baking paper onto hot oven trays and cook 8-10 minutes until the bases are crispy. I'm so sorry I can't be more specific with the quantities with regard to the pizza base ratio, I was in 'chicks drinks' preparation mode when I was making them - can I apologise by saying the amounts should give you enough to make pizzas to feed at least 6-8 depending on appetites!

Labels: , , , , ,