- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
- 1 whole side salmon, pin bones removed
- 2 cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce envelope)
- 5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Canola oil, for brushing
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (dill, chervil, chives, parsley), plus more whole herbs for garnish
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup capers in brine, rinsed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- Special equipment: alder woodchips, soaked in cold water for 4 hours
For the smoked salmon: Mix the kosher salt, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peppercorns in a medium bowl. Cut a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the salmon. Place an equally long piece of plastic wrap on top of the foil. Sprinkle one-third of the salt rub onto the plastic. Lay one side of the salmon skin-side down onto the rub. Sprinkle another third of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place the second side of the salmon flesh-side down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Fold the plastic over the salmon to cover, and then close the edges of the foil together and crimp tightly around the salmon. The salmon should be folded in half and wrapped.
Place the wrapped salmon on a baking sheet and top with another baking sheet. Weigh the top pan down with a brick or two. Refrigerate the salmon for 12 hours. Flip the salmon over and refrigerate for another 12 hours. Some juice will leak out during the refrigeration process, so make sure there's a place for the runoff to gather.
Unwrap the salmon and rinse off the salt rub with cold water. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the salmon is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.
Preheat the smoker. Smoke the salmon over the smoldering alder wood chips until the thickest part of the salmon registers 150 degrees, about 30 minutes. Keep the temperature inside the smoker between 190 and 200 degrees F. Serve the salmon immediately, or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Meanwhile, for the pizza dough: Place the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. When the yeast dissolves, let the water stand about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the flour and the fine salt until smooth. Stir in an additional 2 cups of the flour and continue adding flour (up to 1/2 cup) 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead with lightly floured hands. Slap the dough onto the counter, pulling it toward you with one hand and pushing it away from you with the other. Fold the dough back over itself using a bench scraper or a wide knife to help scrape dough from surface. Repeat the process until the dough is easier to handle, about 10 times. Finish kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little tacky, about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a bowl with olive oil. Shape the dough into 2 balls and transfer to the bowl. Turn to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, about 3 hours. The dough is done when you press it with your finger and an indent remains.
Gently remove the dough from the bowl. Roll each dough half into a ball and place on a lightly-floured baking sheet. Brush the dough balls lightly with olive oil. Cover the baking sheet lightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes.
Prepare charcoal in a chimney starter (allowing the charcoal to burn until all the charcoal is covered with a thin layer of gray ash). Add to the grill, creating a two-level fire by spreading the coals out over half the grill bottom, piling them up in a mound 3 briquettes high, and leaving the other half with no coals.
Stretch and shape each piece of dough into a 10-inch-round on a flat surface. Brush the tops of each round with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the rounds on the grilling stones and cook until the bottoms are lightly golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush the tops of the rounds with oil, flip and cook until the bottoms are lightly golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
For the assembly: Whisk the creme fraiche, chopped herbs, zest together and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the creme fraiche mixture on top of each cooked dough round. Flake some of the smoked salmon and place on top of the creme fraiche mixture. Top with the capers and onions. Garnish with whole herbs. Serve immediately.