Last week I heard an interview with Maine-based chef and writer Kathy Gunst. She shared her discovery of white clam pizza and why she believes pizza is an ideal summer food. She explained that it’s really just a blank canvas for all the beautiful ripe tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs from this season’s garden and how it can be thrown together quickly on a grill or in a hot oven.
She’s not concerned with the perfect shaped pie and often buys store bought dough if she doesn’t have time to make her own. I personally keep a stack of gluten free sourdough crusts from Ugly’s Bakery in my freezer at all times so we can whip them up fast.
Kathy left me dreaming and scheming and I’m telling you now this clam pizza situation is crazy D E L I C I O U S. Maybe you think it sounds weird but if you like Linguine alle Vongole than this will hit all the same spots and might even be better because of the crunchy crust and intensely concentrated pan sauce.
Find her recipe below…I added more garlic, used less cheese, substituted a gluten free crust, and would like to emphasize that no salt is necessary - the clam juice and parmesan take care of that.
Lastly, if your oven can handle it, the 500 degree temperature really makes a difference.
Kathy Gunst’s White Clam Pizza
2 to 2 1/2 dozen littleneck clams, or 1 to 1 1/2 dozen cherrystone clams
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced ( I used 3-4 cloves)
About 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 pizza dough, 1 pound ( I substituted with a frozen gluten free crust)
Flour for rolling out pizza dough
About 1 packed cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I used about a half cup)
Clean the clams in cold running water. Place the clams in a large, heavy skillet.
Pour on the wine, 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, pepper, garlic, half the parsley, and half the red chile flakes. Place over high heat and cook, stirring, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the clams have opened; discard any clams that don’t open up at all.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove the clams from the shells and discard shells. If using cherrystone clams, coarsely chop. If using littlenecks leave them whole. Set aside.
Place the skillet you cooked the clams in over high heat and reduce the cooking liquids until slightly thickened, almost like a glaze, about 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees or preheat your grill to about 450 to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone preheat it.
Meanwhile, working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to a circle about 8 to 9 inches wide. Transfer to a baking sheet or floured pizza peel.
Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil over the surface of the dough. Add a light dusting of pepper. Scatter the cheese on top and then add the clams, distributing them evenly on the pizza round. Spoon on the thickened juices from the skillet and the remaining red chile flakes.
Bake in the oven for about 8 to 9 minutes (or, if grilling, place on a grill sheet and grill, covered, over direct heat for about 5 to 6 minutes), or until the pizza is puffed, golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.