White Clam Pizza

By • January 1, 2012 • 31 Comments



Author Notes: Inspired by a visit to Frank Pepe's in New Haven a couple years ago, I recreated their magically delicious pie at home with amazing results. Get yourself some really fresh littleneck clams and shuck them yourself, or ask your nice fishmonger to shuck 'em. I yanked a handful of the remaining oregano from the back deck herb boxes, but I think dried would work just as well. If you like clams, and you like pizza, you just might enjoy this combo. The pizza dough recipe is adapted from The Silver Spoon, one of my favorite cookbooks. Here's how my mom and dad taught me to prepare clams: the day before you plan on eating them, cover the scrubbed clams in salted water and sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of cornmeal. Stash in the fridge. The clams will eat the cornmeal and expel any sand.mrslarkin

Food52 Review: This is a quintessential minimalist pizza consisting of a few well-chosen ingredients on an outstanding crust. I found the dough too wet to handle, but got it to work by generously flouring the counter and my hands -- it yielded a crispy, slightly chewy thin crust. Next time, I might try dried oregano instead of fresh, as the blistering heat of the oven might be a bit much for fresh herb’s flavor. I could easily see cutting this into small squares and serving at an open house or similar gathering. AntoniaJames

Serves two, if you're willing to share

Homemade Pizza Dough (Makes about 20 ounces of pizza dough. Or use store-bought dough; nothing wrong with that.)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 11.25 oz., or 319 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 3 grams fresh yeast (about a dime-size ball)
  • 8 ounces lukewarm water (about 227 grams)
  • Olive oil
  1. These instructions are for a stand mixer, but you can do it all by hand, if you so choose. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour and salt together.
  2. Dissolve yeast into warm water. Stir in the oil. With mixer on low speed, pour the liquid into the flour until dough comes together.
  3. Scrape off the paddle and switch to the dough hook. Knead for 5 or so minutes.
  4. Scrape mixer bowl and hook, and gather dough into a ball. The dough is pretty sticky, so do your best. Place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, lay a dish towel over it and place in a warm spot, like in the microwave. Sometimes, before putting the dough in, I heat a mug-full of water, to get the microwave nice and warm.
  5. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch dough down, and let rise for another hour.
  6. This step is totally optional, but worth it if you have all day. Punch dough down again and let rise for 2 - 3 more hours. Alternatively, you can stash the dough in the fridge overnight after the first rise. Bring refrigerated dough to room temperature about an hour before forming pizzas.

For White Clam Pizza

  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed, shucked, juices strained and reserved for another use
  • 1 wedge Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • 1 handful of fresh oregano, to taste
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, sliced
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place a pizza stone on bottom-most rack in oven. Preheat oven to BROIL HIGH at least a half hour before you will bake the pizza.
  2. Cut dough from above pizza dough recipe into two equal pieces, about 10 ounces each, weighing it with a kitchen scale if you have one. Place the second piece of dough in a freezer bag and freeze, or make a second pizza of your choosing (e.g. dollops of ricotta cheese, a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top). Yum!
  3. Flatten dough very slightly, and fold in top, bottom, left side, right side, towards center. Turn over, and gently form into a round. Place on lightly floured parchment-lined sheet pan, sprinkle with flour and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil (just a dab to keep the paper in place) a 12" pizza pan. Line with a piece of parchment paper, and lightly dust paper with flour. Place dough on paper. Dust dough lightly with flour and press down with your fingertips as you turn the pie and spread the dough evenly in all directions until you have a nice thin layer, about 1/4" thick. It probably won't cover the entire pan; that’s okay. If dough is not cooperating, it helps to let the dough rest for a few minutes.
  5. Alternatively, flour your fists very well, and the ball of dough. Stretch dough over your fists and move your fists along the outside edge of the dough, stretching it out. Lay the dough on the lightly-floured parchment-lined pizza pan. Tug edges slightly to form a rough circle.
  6. Scatter the clams over the dough, followed by a drizzle of olive oil, a very generous grating of Pecorino (a good half-cupful, using a microplane grater if you've got one), the oregano and the garlic. And that's it!
  7. Place pan directly on pizza stone. Or, if you've got a pizza peel, pull the parchment and pizza onto the peel, then slide parchment and pizza directly onto pizza stone. Turn heat to 550 degrees F. Bake for 5 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned and crisp, and bottom of pizza has some nicely browned spots as well. Use a long-handled metal spatula or metal tongs, or the pizza peel, to lift up the pizza and take a peek underneath. 5 minutes should be plenty; don't turn your clams into rubber, please! The parchment will turn black, but it won't catch fire, so don't worry.
  8. Remove from oven using the pizza peel if you have one. Cut your pizza into pieces and enjoy!

Comments (31) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago little.anomaly

How would you recommend baking this if you don't have access to a pizza stone?

Mrs._larkin_370

about 1 month ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hello. Before I got a stone, I baked my pizzas on a cookie sheet. Should be okay.

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almost 2 years ago Trillinchick

Looks and sounds fabulicious! Where are my keys? Heading for the grocery store. Boboli, canned clams, and olives have my name on them. No fresh clams here. If rubberiness is a threat, we'll figure out how to add them partway through the process. Do not mean to dishonor the original recipe. I'll try it when i' a more competent/confident cook. Then, how about working a little P-R and toasted (Russian?) pine nuts into the dough? Fun!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thanks Trillinchick! Hope you enjoy! My recipes are just a suggestion - so do with them as you please! Where are you that you can't get fresh clams?

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almost 2 years ago Trillinchick

Another thought re: canned clams. How about smoked baby clams, if the rubber factor can be bounced out of the process? Each clam is less that a bite-ful. The 2 brands I know of/use are Geisha and Crown Prince. You can order a case (they keep a long time) by phone directly from CP. My favorite way to have these clam is piled on.a Trader Joe's savory sesame cracker with some sour cream and clams,with a small dollop of sour cream supporting underneath the clams and a small chunk of Spanish chorizo (hard sausage) or a few caviar eggs for finish. Makes a lovely appetizer! One could also sub Spanish smoked paprika for the chorizo. Save the chorizo to scramle wit eggs, potatoes and onions. And the beat goes on...

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almost 2 years ago Chau

OMG, this is the must-try recipe, it combines the most two favorite foods that my hubby would go for. What else could be better than clam and pizza.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thank you Chau. Hope you try it.

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almost 2 years ago Vivian Henoch

Saved. On the must-do list. Congrats on the CP, too.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks so much Vivian.

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almost 2 years ago PrayerPoseMom

This looks amazing! I don't know why this has never occurred to me before; linguine with clams is my husband's favorite meal so this is a must make! Thanks for all the great tips...

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks PPM! I hope you do try it!

Doug

almost 2 years ago MenCanCook

Wow! An easily made but great tasting pizza. I used store bought dough but that was the only part of the recipe I modified. mrslarkin has put together a winner here. A couple recommendations: Pay attention to the ingredients! Don't buy other than real Pecorino-Romano. You want that combination of pleasant sharpness and salt with the clams. Also, great recommendations for cleaning your clams. I used Panko bread crumbs instead of cornmeal and only 'fed' them for about an hour before making the pizza. Oh, and buy the small to medium clams. They're less chewy. This is some kine GOOD!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thank you MCC! So glad you enjoyed the pizza!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Love the looks of this pie, as well as your tip about prepping clams. Hope to try this sometime soon!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thank you, Em!

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almost 2 years ago NakedBeet

The white clam pizza is my family's favorite; it's the only thing we crave when we're back home in New Haven. I'm looking forward to recreating this!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I hope you try it, NB!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh clams on pizza, always amazing. This looks unbelievable!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thanks 5&s! super easy, too.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Lilismom

Would canned Bar Harbour clams work? I don't have access to live clams.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hmmm...I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards no, but I've never used canned clams for this pizza. Are canned clams already cooked? I'd be worried you'd end up with a rubbery mess. Let us know if you do try it!

Summer_2010_1048

over 2 years ago Midge

I've always wanted to go to Pepe's! Can't wait to give this a try.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Definitely easier than schlepping to New Haven! Let me know if you try it, Midge.

Summer_2010_1048

about 2 years ago Midge

I finally went to Pepe's and wow, that clam pizza was truly worth the schlepp/getting lost /line in New Haven. Am making this as soon as its cool enough to turn on the oven!

Mrs._larkin_370

about 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Omg so glad u schlepped! What else did u eat in new haven? Its one of my fave food destinations.

Summer_2010_1048

about 2 years ago Midge

We were driving from Boston to NYC on 95 so just swooped in for lunch at Pepe's. Will definitely go back!

Me

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks wonderful, Liz! I gotta ask - did you make the pizza dough with your new gorgeous KA?

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thank you Susan!! This one I made by hand - old habits die hard! P.S. had to return the KA - big chip in the paint, but I received replacement in no time!

Me

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Those KA folks rock. Their customer service is terrific. I like the activity of kneading dough, I must admit. It's a soothing, meditative thing to do - unless, of course I'm in a hurry. I've saved this one to make-I love the idea of clams on pizza. Happy New Year!

Dscn3274

over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

This looks and sounds amazing...I've always wanted to try this too...now I have a recipe..thanks for sharing!!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks ipk, and you're welcome!! I'm so glad I gave it a try.