white clam pizza

I don’t know where I first came across the idea of a clam pizza but for some reason it has stayed with me and when I was recently looking for things to do with clams, I decided to finally give it a try.

There are a lot of recipes around but I got sucked in by this article, which talks about “New Haven-style pizza” and describes the winner of a 2013 best pizza poll – “Frank Pepe’s in New Haven … topped the list with its white clam pizza, made with clams, grated parmesan, olive oil, garlic and oregano.” Delicious, I knew what I was going to cook.

The recipe that accompanies the article is annoyingly vague. It links to a dough recipe that uses c800g of flour to make four balls of dough - let’s say that’s four pizzas.

As far as toppings go, the recipe calls for 36 littleneck clams, 50g grated Pecorino Romano, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 60ml extra-virgin olive oil. That doesn’t sound like a lot of topping for four pizzas, even when you find out that littleneck clams have shells that are c5cm in diameter, ( bigger than the clams I had).

So, I decided to make it up as I went, taking inspiration from the article which describes this as a pizza with plenty of flavour, with the pecorino cheese (no mozzarella here) allowing the clams to shine through.

I used a large clove of garlic which I grated finely and then mixed with c3 tablespoons of olive oil, as I wanted to prevent the garlic from the burning while also spreading it as evenly as possible. This went on the dough first, followed by the dried oregano (I think I put on slightly less than a teaspoon and thought the end result needed more, so be generous). A large handful of clams topped by a generous sprinkling of cheese – not far off that 50g – and plenty of black pepper finished things off before the pizza went in the oven, which was set to maximum. 6-8 minutes cooking was all it needed.

Some slices I ate plain, some I tried with a grating of lemon zest and some with a sprinkle of chilli flakes. All were delicious.