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White Clam Pizza

Frank Pepe's favorite pizza was olive oil and oregano on bare crust, dotted with little bits of anchovy. To this day, Pepe's premier pizza is made without mozzarella or tomato sauce. It is the white clam pie, and it is nothing but crust strewn with freshly-shucked littleneck clams, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and a dash of grated Parmesan. Without a mozzarella mantle, the dough develops wicked resilience, its mottled surface frosted gold with grated cheese.

Note that while the preparation time is around 45 minutes, you need also to allow 2-3 hours for the dough to rise before baking the pizza.

Recipe Source: Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

The Dough
1 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 - 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
cornmeal

The Topping
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 dozen just-shucked littleneck clams
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in cup of the warm water.
  2. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of water to 2 cups of flour
  3. Add salt and when the yeast is proofed, add it too.
  4. Stir it all together and turn the bomb of dough out onto a floured board. Let the dough rest while you clean and oil a large ceramic bowl. Knead the dough vigorously for a full 15 minutes, adding flour if necessary to create a silky dough.
  5. Return it to the bowl and cover it with two tight layers of plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until double in size, about 2-3 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough and flatten it on a lightly-floured board. Pounding with the heel of your hand, carefully and methodically work the dough into a pizza bottom no more than 1/4-inch thick in the center, rising to a 1/2-inch ring around the circumference.
  7. Sprinkle a baker's peel well with cornmeal, and put the circle of dough on it.
  8. Cover it lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap (so it doesn't dry out) and let it rest while a pizza stone in the oven preheats to 450 degrees and you open the clams.
  9. While the dough is resting, mince the garlic and let it steep in the olive oil.
  10. After the pizza bottom has rested 10-12 minutes, brush on the oil and garlic, leaving a half-inch of untouched area at the outermost edge.
  11. Spread the clams around the pie with a dash of their own juice. Sprinkle on oregano and cheese.
  12. To Bake Use the baker's peel to transfer pie the pie to the preheated stone in the oven. The corn meal will act as miniature ball bearings to help it slide neatly onto the stone.
  13. Bake 15 minutes, or until the crust is light brown. Remove the pizza, slice, and serve with beer or soda and plenty of napkins.
Recipe photo of White Clam Pizza

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