Franny's famous clam pizza recipe has shown up on Serious Eats before, but this revamped recipe in the restaurant's new cookbook shows what good a few years of tweaking can do. The concept is the same: steam clams in a wine and garlic broth till they open, reduce the juices, fortify with cream, and use both the clam meat and thick glaze to paint a slowly proofed round of pizza dough. But now the dough recipe has been improved, accompanied by detailed instructions for rolling, topping, and baking the pie. A final stint under the broiler gives the pizza a well-blistered crust, caramelizes the cream glaze, and singes the tips of the clams.
Why I picked this recipe: I am not a particularly confident home pizza maker, but I was drawn to the detailed, conversational instructions here. Plus, clam pizza is not something I eat every day.
What worked: This dough is super easy to work with and produces a well-flavored pizza with a decent balance between the crisp edges and chewy center. The topping was easy to put together, if a bit more time consuming than advertised.
What didn't: If your clams are gritty, you'll end up with sand in the glaze. If you're worried about grittiness, you can soak your clams in cool water for 20 minutes before cooking, or just strain the wine and clam juice mixture through a coffee filter before reducing it.
Suggested tweaks: You could substitute mussels or any other type of clam for the littlenecks called for here. If you don't want to eat four clam pizzas, you can use (or save) the remaining dough base for other toppings and save any extra steamed clams for pasta. The pizza dough can also be frozen after the first proof. Divide into four dough balls as written, wrap tightly in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.