Sheet Pan

White Clam Pizza

January  1, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves two, if you're willing to share
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 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. Homemade Pizza Dough (Makes about 20 ounces of pizza dough. Or use store-bought dough; nothing wrong with that.)
  2. 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.
  3. Dissolve yeast into warm water. Stir in the oil. With mixer on low speed, pour the liquid into the flour until dough comes together.
  4. Scrape off the paddle and switch to the dough hook. Knead for 5 or so minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch dough down, and let rise for another hour.
  7. 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.
  1. For White Clam Pizza
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. Remove from oven using the pizza peel if you have one. Cut your pizza into pieces and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • deblenares
  • Horto
  • Vivian Henoch
    Vivian Henoch
  • MenCanCook
  • EmilyC

45 Reviews

Tlw202 August 11, 2019
This was a great recipe! All I did different was use minced garlic. Simple but delicious! Thank you for posting!!!
deblenares June 3, 2018
Delicious pizza.
Couple of comments:
1. Please add bacon - fry up some bacon, chop, add to pizza with clams, etc.
2. I could have used a little more instruction on how to prepare the clams. This is what I did and it seemed to work out fine.
I soaked clams overnight in the fridge in salt water. Shucked clams. I "cleaned" the bellies by removing anything black. I removed the "foreskin" (not sure what other term to use) from the clam neck and any other blackish attachments. I chopped the clams.
It took more than five minutes to cook, but I think that was because I used a full portion of prepared dough.
mrslarkin June 3, 2018
Hi deblenares! I’m so glad you liked the pizza! Bacon sounds delish. I mention in the comments how to clean the clams. I’m not sure what you mean by the foreskin, but it sounds like you used steamers?
Horto June 11, 2015
Ok to put clams in tap water???
When I dig my own I keep them in sound water
mrslarkin June 11, 2015
Yes tap water is fine. Just salt it. Enjoy!
R. M. February 24, 2015
tried this last night with a Duckhorn sauvignon blanc.....I usually don't eat the same thing 2 days in a row...only if there are leftovers.....that's funny because there were none, but l'll be having the same tonight ....this was waaaaay beyond great.... I thought ahead and made double the dough.......thank you
mrslarkin February 24, 2015
You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed it. It's one of our favorite pizzas.
yasmin February 6, 2015
will regular parmesan work? or do i need this brand??
mrslarkin February 6, 2015
Parm should be fine. Pecorino is a slightly saltier cheese, which I prefer with the flavors in this pie
yasmin February 6, 2015
thank you! also - do you advise any particular store bought crust??
mrslarkin February 6, 2015
I've used Boboli in the past, which is decent.
yasmin February 6, 2015
wheat or white? thank you for answering all my questions! i am excited to try this, i've never had clams on my pizza :)
mrslarkin February 6, 2015
White is more traditional.
carswell August 13, 2014
I often make a pizza with smoked oysters or clams. I smear the dough with some pesto, sprinkle the oysters around and dot with some goat cheese. Mmmmmm.
little.anomaly June 27, 2014
How would you recommend baking this if you don't have access to a pizza stone?
mrslarkin June 27, 2014
Hello. Before I got a stone, I baked my pizzas on a cookie sheet. Should be okay.
Trillinchick October 14, 2012
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!
mrslarkin October 14, 2012
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?
Trillinchick October 15, 2012
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...
Chau October 14, 2012
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.
mrslarkin October 14, 2012
Thank you Chau. Hope you try it.
Vivian H. October 14, 2012
Saved. On the must-do list. Congrats on the CP, too.
mrslarkin October 14, 2012
Thanks so much Vivian.
PrayerPoseMom October 14, 2012
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...
mrslarkin October 14, 2012
Thanks PPM! I hope you do try it!
MenCanCook October 14, 2012
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!
mrslarkin October 14, 2012
Thank you MCC! So glad you enjoyed the pizza!
EmilyC September 30, 2012
Love the looks of this pie, as well as your tip about prepping clams. Hope to try this sometime soon!
mrslarkin October 1, 2012
Thank you, Em!
NakedBeet September 19, 2012
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!
mrslarkin September 19, 2012
I hope you try it, NB!
fiveandspice September 19, 2012
Oh clams on pizza, always amazing. This looks unbelievable!
mrslarkin September 19, 2012
thanks 5&s! super easy, too.
Lilismom August 12, 2012
Would canned Bar Harbour clams work? I don't have access to live clams.
mrslarkin August 12, 2012
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!
Midge January 2, 2012
I've always wanted to go to Pepe's! Can't wait to give this a try.
mrslarkin January 2, 2012
Definitely easier than schlepping to New Haven! Let me know if you try it, Midge.
Midge July 19, 2012
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!
mrslarkin July 19, 2012
Omg so glad u schlepped! What else did u eat in new haven? Its one of my fave food destinations.
Midge July 20, 2012
We were driving from Boston to NYC on 95 so just swooped in for lunch at Pepe's. Will definitely go back!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 2, 2012
This looks wonderful, Liz! I gotta ask - did you make the pizza dough with your new gorgeous KA?
mrslarkin January 2, 2012
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!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 2, 2012
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!
inpatskitchen January 1, 2012
This looks and sounds amazing...I've always wanted to try this I have a recipe..thanks for sharing!!
mrslarkin January 1, 2012
Thanks ipk, and you're welcome!! I'm so glad I gave it a try.