White Clam Pizza

By • January 1, 2012 42 Comments

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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 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, or 3 grams fresh yeast (about a dime-size ball)
  • 8 ounces lukewarm water (about 227 grams)
  • 1/4 cup 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!

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