Smoked Salmon Pizza is one of the signature iconoclast recipes that launched Wolfgang Puck's Spago into the gastronomical stratosphere. Wolfie's a wanderer, though, and props to him for turning his unique flavor compositions into an international lifestyle brand. 

Wait — "international lifestyle brand" — did I just write that? Yikers! My day job (marketing) inevitably sneaks into Spec D from time to time. Still, this blog is "graciously underwritten" from that gig, as they say on PBS, so far be it for me or you, dear readers, to gripe about the occasional intrusion of corp-speak.

For a bracing tonic to bring us back to the comfortable zone of shared dining experiences, culinary exploration and personal ruminations on family and place, look no further that  Here you'll find (and fall in love with) explorations of L.A.'s off-beat food destinations mixed with warm memories of a California family stretching back four generations to halcyon days of small-town life. Lovingly tended gardens yielding an abundance of sun-ripened fruits and vegetables under an endless azure sky. Back when you could slip a note under the collar of the family dog (Tuffy) and he'd trot off across the fields to Vic, the local butcher, who'd fill the order for the evening meal which Tuffy would then dutifully carry back home. You can't make this up.

Nowadays, many believe "L.A. is a great big freeway, put a hundred down and buy a car. In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star. But weeks turn into years, how quick they pass, and all the stars that never were are parking cars and pumping gas." 

Dionne sang it so beautifully it's easy to think that's the true story of the city of angels. Fie on that say I! Sure, my high school pal Jimmy parks his car — baby seat and all, in his Santa Monica driveway, thanks to a keen talent for investment management.  Nice girls like Jenni P. have no issues with the self-service pumps at gas stations en route to the next TV taping or hosting a charity benefit or doling out baklava at the parish bake sale. NYC film school graduates find their niches in the big studios, allowing them time pursue other creative passions, like writing about the beauty that still exists within a 100 mile radius of the city. Look no further than Charles Thompson for a perfect example of this particular genre of happy, successful Angeleno.  

110 Miles and Spectacularly Delicious initially met online, then serendipitously in person at a Foodista food blogger convention. Next thing you know I've got a new best friend on the left coast.  A day recently spent hanging with Charles and his partner Robert got me to wondering what Charles thought were L.A.'s most spectacular food creations. Wolfgang Puck's Smoked Salmon Pizza was high on Charles' list. 

So as soon as I got back to NYC I gave it a go. And, well, I took a few liberties. Anyone surprised? Chef Wolfgang might regard my homage as some sort of bastard child, but I say deal with it.    

BTW, the square slices of S.D.'s Smoked Salmon Pizza are reminiscent of Imo's, the St. Louis institution beloved for thin crisp squares topped with gooey Provel cheese food product , a treat that hasn't strayed farther than 100 miles from it's birthplace.  


An all-new intepretation triggered by

2 hard boiled eggs
2 pieces Syrian lavash bread (the fresh soft rectangles, not the baked crispy variety)
2 oz. butter
2 oz. grated Monterey Jack
Red lump fish caviar
4 oz. high-quality smoked salmon, sliced thin
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
crème fraiche

Peel the hard boiled eggs, separate the whites from the yellows, and force each separately through a fine-meshed sieve to fluffy little flakes.

Have all your toppings arranged and ready to go — salmon slices separated, spoons at the ready for to dress the pizza with the egg whites and yolks and onion and caviar.  

Butter a piece of lavash and place butter-side down on a baking sheet. Evenly distribute the grated Jack cheese. Top with the second slice of lavash, top-side also buttered and bake in a 350º oven 12 to 15 minutes,  'til the top is browned and the cheese is oozing out.

Working quickly, spread the top with a thin layer of crème fraiche.  Then create neat stripes across the top: rows of smoked salmon, yolk flakes, snowy egg whites spotted with bits of red onion, then glorious little tumble of caviar. Symmetry and neatness make all the difference here so look sharp people, and think ahead.

Slice the Smoked Salmon Pizza into squares and serve hot.

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Written by on April 2, 2011 under ALL RECIPES, Famous Chefs, Fish and Seafood, Main Dishes, Restaurants.

  • Charles G Thompson

    Thank you so much for all the kind words, Sean! It was so much fun having you in the City of Angels! You MUST visit more often. Next time I’ll take you to Spago for Wolf’s pizza. The first time I ate it was in the early 80s and Spago still sat perched above the Sunset Strip. My date and I scored a primo seat near the VIP section and watched Joan Collins and friends down bubbly, pizza and other Wolfgang creations. We felt like we’d “arrived”! Ah, memories.

    • Sean

      My first and only dinner at Spago was at that same Sunset Strip overlook.
      The food was a revelation, but what really made the evening truly special
      was the waitstaff — everyone was into making us feel welcome and pampered
      — the same treatment Joan Collins receives, I suppose, though she wasn’t
      there that night…

  • Anna Johnston

    OMG Sean, that’s one seriously colourful & ooba rich sounding pizza 😉

    • Sean

      Yes is it is an eye opener. Truth be told, if you’re not in the mood to
      force eggs through sieves or are fresh out of caviar, smoked salmon + creme
      fraiche + a little jack cheese is pretty darn good too.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a post on Charles’ site that leads to your fab location, and then boom! there’s a post on your site inspired by Charles. Isn’t it lovely how blogging can actually lead to real friendships? Great recipes around here. Loving the use of lavash for a pizza. If you want that crispy, crunchy bite, it’s perfect.

    • Sean

      You’re absolutely right about the friendships started via our sites. In our
      case we found that though our paths hadn’t crossed before, we’d been just
      one degree of separation and have a pile similar experiences and sense of

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