White Clam Pizzas With Scallions and Bacon
Chef’s Notes: Served in small shapes or slices and with light, bright toppings, little pizzas, or pizzette, make the best antipasti. In particular, watching this juicy, garlicky clam pie win over guests never gets old for me. It’s my riff on the white clam pies I ate at Connecticut pizzerias growing up, and nixes the classic cheese topping for a thin, silky sauce of cream and fresh clam juice that’s baked right on top—the kind of briny, satisfying concoction you can’t fully grasp until you try it. Have a generous hand with the parsley, scallions, bacon, and chili flakes, which—in addition to the sauce and fresh, juicy clams—make this pie vibrant, addictive, and memorable.
Makes two 11-inch pizzas
- 3 pounds cockles, about 5 dozen, or other small clams, shells rinsed under cold water
- 4 bacon slices (4 ounces), cooked and chopped
- One 8-fluid-ounce bottle clam juice, or substitute water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Two 8-ounce pizza dough balls, store-bought or from your favorite pizza place, fully risen and at room temperature
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion, light green and white parts, from about 7 scallions
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnishing (optional)
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnishing
- Chili flakes, for serving (optional)
Purge the clams and cook the bacon before starting.
Preheat the oven to 525 degrees F and set a pizza stone, a rimless metal baking sheet, or an overturned sturdy metal baking sheet in the top third of the oven (make sure it’s level).
Set a medium heat-proof bowl next to the stove. In a medium pot over high heat, heat the clam juice or water until boiling. Add the clams and cover the pot. Cook until a few of the clams have begun to open, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until most of the clams begin opening, 2 to 3 minutes more. As they open, transfer the clams to the bowl using a slotted spoon. When the clams have all opened, turn off the heat (discard any clams that do not open). Reserve the juices in the pot. Pick the meat from the shells and coarsely chop.
Skim 1/3 cup of clam juices from the top of the pot, leaving behind any sand or impurities in the bottom. Discard the remaining clam juice and clean out the pot. Add the reserved juice back to the pot as well as the cream, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a generous pinch of pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, watching carefully, until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and set it atop a large, flat cutting board, or generously flour a pizza peel.
Working one at a time, stretch a ball of pizza dough into a 10- to 11-inch diameter round (go as thinly as you can without breaking the dough or making it too weak). Place it on the prepared parchment or pizza peel.
Working quickly, brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges, drizzle the dough with half of the cream mixture (about 1/2 cup). The pizza may look overly saucy but will dry significantly as it cooks. Top with half each of the clams, scallions, and bacon, and a sprinkling of Parmigiano, if desired.
Carefully slide the parchment paper from the cutting board or the pizza from the peel onto the preheated pizza stone or pan. Bake until the dough is crisped and golden and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 12 minutes if using a pizza stone, or 12 to 14 minutes if using a baking sheet. Remove and repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. Slice and serve the pizzas as they come out, sprinkled with fresh parsley leaves and chili flakes.
Reprinted with permission from “Piatti: Plates and Platters for Sharing, Inspired by Italy” by Stacy Adimando, copyright 2019. Published by Chronicle Books.