Web Xtra: Deconstructing the Dish

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Nick Laudano of Nick’s New Haven-Style Pizzeria and Bar shares his recipe for white-clam pizza.

There are almost as many styles of pizza as there are pizzerias. Neapolitan, New York, Chicago. Sicilian, Midwest, California. Stuffed, grilled, designer. One of the most distinctive, however, hails from the Connecticut town of New Haven, said to have been invented in the 1920s at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and called “apizza” (pronounced “a-beetz”).

With its thin, crisp-chewy crust, New Haven-style pizza is kin to the classic Neapolitan pie, with the added distinction of being baked in wicked-hot coal-fired ovens, which blisters the dough and gives it a light char. New Haven’s most famous contribution to pizza bliss is probably the white clam pie, a daring but straightforward assemblage of freshly shucked Rhode Island clams, pecorino romano, garlic, dried oregano and olive oil, also said to have originated at Frank Pepe’s.

At Nick’s New Haven-Style Pizzeria and Bar in Boca Raton and Coral Springs, chef-owner Nick Laudano goes the original white clam pizza one (or two) better, adding mozzarella and bacon to the basic recipe. It might seem a little unusual to anyone raised on the standard tomato sauce-cheese-pepperoni pie, but one slice and you’ll see that it’s tough to beat “a-beetz.”

White Clam Pizza with Bacon and Garlic

10 ounces pizza dough (for a 12-inch pizza)

1/4 pounds or less shredded mozzarella (not fresh)

14 to 16 ounces fresh clams, whole or chopped (your choice)

Several slices cooked bacon (to taste)

Scattering grated pecorino-romano cheese

Drizzle garlic-infused olive oil

An hour before cooking, place pizza stone in oven and turn to highest setting (at least 500 degrees). Stretch dough into round shape, scatter pizza peel with cornmeal and place dough on it. Add cheeses, clams and bacon and drizzle with garlic oil. Scatter more cornmeal on pizza stone and slide pizza into oven. It will take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on your oven.