Sunday, October 16, 2011

September's Pizza del Mese: White Clam Pizza

September's Pizza del Mese would be a great follow up to an overly generous summer clam bake. Chop up some of those leftover bivalves and make this delectable pizza. For those of us not so lucky, frozen chopped clams or even, gasp, canned clams will suffice. The fantastic garlic white wine sauce and the Pecorino cheese will more than make up for any shellfish shortcomings.

The recipe calls for fresh, not dried, parsley. I substituted cilantro as I have so much it's staging an Occupy Sarah's Refrigerator demonstration. It is, in fact, 99% of the produce in my house. I can see how fresh parsley would be good, but the cilantro worked well.
White Clam Pizza adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
  • Vegetable oil to apply to the cooking surface of Lodge Pro Logic Cast-Iron 14-Inch Pizza Pan
  • One recipe Semolina Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. frozen chopped clams, thawed; or two 6- or 7-oz. cans clams, drained
  • 2 T dry white wine
  • 2 T chopped parsley leaves (or cilantro, in my case)
  • l 1/2 oz. Pecorino, finely grated
  • Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the surface of the cast iron pizza pan. Lay the dough at its center and dimple the dough with your fingertips. Then pull and press the dough until it forms a 14-inch circle on the pizza pan.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl in the olive oil, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the clams, wine, and the parsley; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 2 minutes. Don't let this go too long or there won't be enough liquid to counter the dryness of the Pecorino.
  • Spread the clam mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with the grated Pecorino.
  • Place the pie on its pizza pan in the oven on the middle rack. Check it about every three minutes for the first nine minutes to pop any air bubbles that may blow up at its edge or across its surface. Bake until until the crust is somewhat firm and lightly browned, 14 to 16 minutes.
  • Transfer the pizza pan to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes. Remove the pie from the pan, transferring it directly to the wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
This Semolina Pizza Dough turned out really well. I substituted bread flour for the all-purpose flour due to my irrational fear of low gluten content. The crust really puffed up around the perimeter and the texture was relatively light and airy. I'm definitely going to use this one again. Semolina Pizza Dough adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough Ingredients
  • 3/4 C lukewarm water (between 105 F and 115 F)
  • 1 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 C bread flour
  • 1/2 C semolina flour
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with warm tap water, drain it, and dry it thoroughly. Stir the water, yeast, sugar, and salt together in the bowl just until everything is dissolved. Set aside so the yeast can begin to bubble and foam, about 5 minutes. If it doesn't, throw the mixture out and start again. The water may not have been the right temperature or the yeast expired.
  • Add the flours and olive oil, attach the dough hook, and beat at medium speed until combined. Continue kneading at medium speed, adding more bread flour in 1 T increments if the dough gets sticky, until the mixture is soft and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  • Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
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