I Made This: New Haven Style Clam Pizza

New Haven Style Clam Pizza, pizza, clam pizza, mark bittman pizza dough, littleneck clams

All my life, I have loved pizza. Now, everyone says they love pizza, but when I say I love pizza, I mean that I love pizza. It is truly, honest to goodness, my favorite food. And I don’t discriminate when it comes to pizza. I’ll gobble down a greasy late night slice just as soon as I’d make reservations at the newest gourmet pizza restaurant. So when I finally got my own pizza stone for Christmas, I was over the moon. Finally! I can make delicious, non-pita bread pizza (my specialty) whenever I want!

But then came the problem of the dough. Everyone says frozen dough is the quickest, easiest way to whip up a pie, but guess what? My city grocery store (read: not a suburb supermarket wonderland that has 17 types of every product) does not carry frozen pizza dough. Plus, why buy the frozen stuff when homemade dough only calls for about four ingredients?

Mark Bittman pizza dough, pizza dough, homemade pizza dough, pizza dough recipe

For the first couple tries, I made a rather sticky dough based off the recipe in the instruction booklet that came with the pizza stone. It tasted ok, but it didn’t crisp up very well, yet still wound up being kind of hard and chewy. The week before I embarked on my clam pizza, I found Mark Bittman’s simple pizza dough recipe that used the food processor. I don’t have a stand mixer (you may have heard something about apartments in NYC being small…), and I love my food processor almost as much as I love pizza, so I knew I needed to make this dough. And the simple toppings of a New Haven-style clam pizza were actually perfect for being able to really taste the dough. It was thin, crispy, and the crusts were beautifully golden on the outside while still light and soft on the inside.

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Spotlight: Clams from Blue Moon Fish

littleneck clams, blue moon fish, clams, hard shell clams

So, about those beautiful littleneck clams I bought from Blue Moon Fish

I had big plans to make a New Haven-style clam pizza with Mark Bittman’s food processor pizza dough (recipe to come!), and the fact that I didn’t know the first thing about preparing fresh clams wasn’t going to stop me. It was only when we were hacking away at the stubborn little guys with our butter knives did I think, “Hmm, perhaps I should have bought a shucking knife before I bought the clams.” But nevermind that. We (ok, Matt) got them all open without losing any fingers, and let me tell you,¬†they were delicious. It was like eating the ocean.

littleneck clams, blue moon fish, clams, hard shell clams

Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of getting too caught up in my food preparations and forgetting to take photos, so I don’t have any pictures of the fresh juicy clams swimming in their little pool of liquor on their half shells. But, in all honesty, most of our clams were a bit mangled and the shells were cracked and broken thanks to our amateur shucking job. In fact, when I slurped one down raw with a bit of hot sauce and a spritz of lemon, I crunched down on a piece of shell. There is a reason why every “How to Shuck Clams” video says you should not use anything but a clam knife.

The clams smelled exactly as fresh clams should, like the salty waters of the Atlantic. Raw, they were slightly sweet and salty, soaking in their briny liquor. Cooked, they were tender, sweet, and almost buttery. Combined with garlic,¬†parmesan-reggiano cheese, oregano, and copious amounts of olive oil on a pizza… oh. my. god. It was perfect.

I’ll be ordering a couple of shucking knives this week so we can do it all again as soon as possible, minus the risk of slicing off our fingers.