Going out for pizza in Rome is as integral to the culture as whipping up a plate of pasta is at home. It’s a social occasion shared with boisterous friends (i.e. most Italians). La pizza is ideal when you don’t want to spend a lot time (or money) on dinner because you have bigger plans on the horizon, like going to a concert, a movie, a dance club, or a stroll around town. Pizza is quick. In fact, many pizzerias don’t even serve coffee or dessert, so they can shuffle you right out and bring new paying customers in.

When I used to go out for pizza in Rome, there was only one pizza I ordered: Pizza al Salmone e Rughetta, which is the word in romanesco (Roman dialect) for arugula. Smoked salmon is layered onto the tomato sauce, then covered with mozzarella, placed in the super-hot wood red oven for just a couple of minutes until bubbly, and then topped with arugula right before serving, so that it wilts just a touch, yet still adds some crunch: Yummmm.

Seafood with cheese? Isn’t that against the rules? While it’s true that cheese and seafood are not common pairings in the Italian kitchen, there are many exceptions to this rule. In Sicily, for example, you will nd swordfish wrapped around mozzarella on skewers or dusted in breadcrumbs and pecorino. Suffice to say, you will not be breaking any Italian culinary statutes with this pizza, in case you were concerned.

This recipe is a less gooey, less gluten-y take on my Roman pizza addiction.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 (10-inch) frozen gluten-free pizza crust (See Note)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher or Celtic salt
  • 6 to 8 large cherry tomatoes, cut into VERY thin rounds
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, divided into thin slices
  • 2 to 3 ounces shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 20 to 30 grinds of the pepper mill
  • A handful of wild arugula


  1. Preheat the oven to 425oF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil so the oil that drips off the pizza doesn’t get it dirty. Place it on the lower rack of the oven.
  2. Brush the frozen pizza crust with the olive oil. Yes, it will seem like too much. The oil is what will create the chewy, crunchy texture.
  3. Add the salt and use your fingers to evenly spread it around the crust.
  4. Dot the oiled pizza with the tomatoes, and bake until outer crust turns golden, 12 to 13 minutes.
  5. Once the pizza is done, lay down the slices of smoked salmon, the shavings of cheese, and ground pepper. You want to be generous with the pepper so it “combats” the saltiness of the salmon and cheese.
  6. Scatter the arugula over the top.
  7. Cut the pizza into 8 pieces, and then cut some of those eight pieces in half for smaller bites if desired. Serve immediately.


Note: Frozen gluten-free pizza crust can be found in the frozen section of many markets or can be ordered online. I prefer the Venice Baking Company brand. Udi’s brand is available more readily throughout the country, but they are slightly smaller, so use less olive oil and decrease the cooking time by two minutes.

Reposted from Elana Horwich’s Meal and a Spiel: How to Be a Badass in the Kitchen