For this next challenge, “From a can,” I decided not to indulge in my favorite pizza standard of artichoke red pie, despite the use of both canned tomatoes and artichokes. Instead, I took on a pizza that I had never dreamt of making: white clam pizza. URBN Coal Fire Pizza/Bar in North Park, San Diego boasts a New Haven-style, thus features a classic clam pie. It’s the perfect pizza to order for lunch on a Sunday with a glass of Provence rosé.
I generally operate under a zero-seafood-from-a-can policy when I cook so I’ve decided to slap on some bacon for a bit of flavor insurance.
Bacon offers unity between land and sea and, for those iffy about clams on a pizza, it can become the focal point of the experience.
Garlic is the perfect aromatic to go alongside seafood so an abundance is used to coat the base.
Classically, fresh littleneck clams are used but since freshness is already being shunned for the sake of this challenge, the clam of choice is not a point of concern.
Ignoring how closely these clams resemble ID4 aliens sealed in an Area-51 tube once unveiled, these clams need to be coarsely chopped with the juice reserved for extra flavoring.
Once outside of their murky clam juice home, these puppies look ready to hop on a pizza and snuggle up alongside some bacon.
The dough used is a 3:1 bread and whole wheat flour, which was rolled out as thinly as possible while the oven climbed up to a maxed out 550°F. When freshly made, this dough can insert a subtle yeasty sweetness in the pizza’s overall flavor.
Using olive oil & garlic as the sauce, mozzarella provided a base of cheese and the protein followed with parmesan grated overtop. Most importantly, a couple spoonfuls of clam juice were sprinkled over evenly before popping this bad larry into the oven for 7-10 minutes.
In keeping with theme, a can of Alloy Wine Works – Grenache rosé, Central Coast, California was the pairing of choice, harking back to my URBN clam pizza & rosé days. With underripe raspberry and white strawberry notes balanced by the hint of actual sweetness in the wine, this wine tasted like the can’s own promising of sour patch kids. The inherent saltiness of the pizza even further emphasized the fruit of this rosé but it was the wine’s waxy texture and fuller body that helped manage bursts of smoky bacon.
The briny flavors were well integrated with the garlic and bright, tangy parmesan with the occasional bite of sea water surprise that is likely inevitable with a dish like this. The pizza kept pillowy texture that stayed moist and fresh thanks to the addition of the clam juice on top, without which this pizza would be lost.