White Clam Pizza

Please tell me that I’m not alone in buying the occasional gift for my husband that just may be something that I’ve had my eye on? I’m not talking about a new pair of boots that I just know he’d think look great on me (that would be awful) but something that I’m certain we’d both enjoy…he just may not realize it. Well, such was the case with the pizza stone that Gary received on Christmas morning. He graciously thanked me with a curious look of just what you’ve been wanting but truly I was thinking of all the fun nights we could share making pizzas together.

I’m happy to report that after initially “breaking in” the stone on my own, these family pizza nights have evolved and we’ve had a lot of fun making all sorts of pies with the kids. My personal favorite is a White Clam Pizza a la Pepe’s in New Haven, Connecticut. For those of you unfamiliar with Pepe’s, it is a pizza institution making some of the best thin crust pizzas since 1925. The white clam pizza is arguably the pie for which they are most famous and I hope that’s all the convincing you’ll need to give this recipe a try. 

The recipe below gives directions for making a basic pizza dough but feel free to make your own dough in a bread machine if you have one (which is what I usually do) or pick up some dough from the supermarket or local pizzeria. I suggest cranking up your oven temperature and getting your stone nice and hot before cooking. Even an hour of preheating is not too long. I also have been using a tip from a friend which is that I assemble my pizza on a rimless baking sheet and cook it on the sheet for a couple of minutes until it will easily slide onto the stone which is where the pizza continues to cook until done. This method is a lot easier than getting your uncooked pizza onto the stone unless you happen to have a pizza peel. Hmmm…our anniversary is just around the corner, I wonder if Gary has been hoping for a pizza peel?

White Clam Pizza

White Clam Pizza

White Clam Pizza
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. DOUGH
  2. ¾ cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
  3. 1 envelope active dry yeast
  4. ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  5. 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  6. 3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. PIZZA
  9. 2 cans (each 6½ ounces) chopped clams
  10. 1 Tbls clam juice (from the can of chopped clams)
  11. ¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
  12. 2 tsp minced garlic
  13. ⅔ c finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  14. ½ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  15. 2 tsp dried oregano
  16. Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  17. Kosher salt
  18. Freshly ground black pepper
To make dough
  1. In a medium bowl combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir briefly and set aside until the yeast begins to bubble and swell, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 2½ cups flour, 3 tablespoons oil, and the salt. Stir until the dough holds together and then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  3. Knead the dough until it is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat with oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, 1 to 1½ hours.
To make pizza
  1. Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500°F. If you don't have a pizza stone, place an inverted, rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat. Ideally, oven should be at preheated temperature for at least 45 minutes.
  2. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
  4. Roll or press each piece into a circle, approximately 8 to 9 inches wide and ¼ inch thick (don’t worry if it’s not exact; irregular shapes are fine).
  5. Meanwhile, drain the clams and reserve 1 Tbls of the clam juice.
  6. In a small bowl whisk the ¼ c oil, garlic, and the reserved 1 Tbls clam juice.
  7. In another bowl combine the parsley, cheese, oregano, and lemon zest.
  8. Put the drained clams in a third bowl.
  9. Brush the top of each pizza with the oil mixture (be sure to use all of the oil mixture).
  10. Distribute minced garlic evenly over each pizza.
  11. Add the clams and then top with the parsley mixture.
  12. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with cornmeal and carefully transfer one prepared pizza onto the sheet (alternatively, you can prepare each pizza, one at a time, on the rimless baking sheet).
  13. Cook the pizza for a couple of minutes on the rimless baking sheet until you can easily slide it onto the pizza stone (or the inverted, rimmed baking pan).
  14. Cook until the cheese melts and the crusts are crisp, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  15. Remove the pizzas from the oven and season with salt and pepper.
  16. Cut into wedges and serve right away.
Adapted from Weber
Adapted from Weber
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