Cook the Book: Clam and Chile Pizza

Cook the Book: Clam and Chile Pizza

"Normally cheeseless pizzas aren't my favorite, but with this one I didn't miss the mozzarella at all."

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

Andrew Feinberg and his wife Francine Stephens opened Franny's, a pizza spot in Brooklyn in 2004. The goal was to serve fresh and simple Italian fare made from ingredients they could feel good about, and incorporate sustainable practices into the restaurant's daily operations.

Six years later, the place is packed every night and Feinberg is still putting out the pizzas that made Franny's one of the first real Brooklyn destination restaurants.

Alice Waters choose Feinberg as one of the chefs to be included in Coco and she makes sure to stop by for one of his pies anytime she's in Brooklyn.


This Clam and Chiie Pizza has been on the menu for as long as I can remember and I was thrilled to try it out at home. The clam topping for the pizza is made by steaming clams in white wine, onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Once the clams are open, the sauce is strained, mixed with cream, and reduced. The clam sauce is thick and creamy with a wonderful concentrated seafood flavor. A small amount is spread over the pizza dough and the clams are taken out of their shells and placed on top.

While my oven doesn't get quite get hot enough to replicate the char that comes from Franny's wood-fired oven, Feinberg's dough crisped up perfectly on the bottom and had a great chewiness to it. The sauce absorbed slightly into the dough, giving it a wonderful clammy flavor and the little clams browned just the tiniest bit.

Normally cheeseless pizzas aren't my favorite, but with this one I didn't miss the mozzarella at all.

Win Coco

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Coco to give away this week.

  • Yield:6


  • Clam Sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for pan frying
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 54 littleneck clams
  • About 1 cup cream


  1. 1.

    Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan and sweat the onion and garlic with the bay leaf.

  2. 2.

    When the vegetables are soft, add the white wine and cover.

  3. 3.

    Bring the liquid to a boil and place the clams in it. Cover and steam the clams in it. Cover and steam the clams over high heat. After 5 minutes check to see if the clams have opened, and if so remove them from the pan and cool.

  4. 4.

    Strain the clam liquor and reduce it until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the cream and reduce further, then let the sauce cool.

  5. 5.

    Separate the clams from their shells. Reserve the meat and discard the shells.

  6. 6.


  7. 7.

    1 tablespoon fresh yeast

  8. 8.

    1 tablespoon salt

  9. 9.

    2 cups ice-water

  10. 10.

    5 cups flour

  11. 11.


  12. 12.

    In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the salt and flour and mix until the dough starts to come together.

  13. 13.

    Turn the dough out onto a table and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

  14. 14.

    Turn the dough out onto a table and cut into 6 (185-g) pieces. Roll each into a ball shape using the palm of your hand and rotate it in a clockwise motion. Cover the dough balls and let rest for 6-8 hours in the refrigerator.

  15. 15.

    For serving

  16. 16.

    Chile flakes

  17. 17.

    Chopped flat-leaf parsley

  18. 18.


  19. 19.

    Take the dough out of the refrigerator 1 hour before using it, and at the same rime preheat the oven to 500°F. alternatively, light a fire in a brick oven if you access to one.

  20. 20.

    Stretch each dough ball into a pizza shape and spoon on just enough clam sauce to cover the dough -not too much, as it is very strong. Place 9 clams on top of the sauce and sprinkle with some chili flakes. Repeat for the rest of the dough balls.

  21. 21.

    Bake until nice and browned. Finish each pizza with a little chopped parsley.