Today I broke my own promise to try to buy locally grown and harvested foods when I bought a dozen littleneck clams from Bristol Farms. I could not resist them...they looked like my beloved Cape Cod in winter; grey, stoic and nestled in a bed of ice. I closed my eyes and inhaled their briny perfume and could almost picture myself there, a fragrant sea breeze coming up from the water. It is amazing how a meal, a smell or a song can transport me across time, or across a continent. Tonight I can pretend I am back on the Cape, with rain pattering on my window and a fire in the fireplace. The smell of woodsmoke mixing with the scent of the ocean is an intoxicating combination...
But alas, I am here, in southern California and the smoke I smell is probably another mountain on fire, and the "ocean breeze" is really the Santa Ana's blowing through my kitchen. But regardless of our location, we will dine and remember, with a clam pizza, flavored with the sweet meat from the clams, some of their liquor, olive oil spiked with garlic, and Pecorino cheese. A simple dish, yet exquisitely complex in flavor.
one recipe pizza dough (see dough recipe here)
one dozen littleneck clams
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C olive oil (or so)
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 C Pecorino cheese, grated
1/4 C Mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 500 degrees for one hour.
Shuck clams (and I will admit that this was WAY harder than we expected). Those buggers were shut tight, and we had to seriously pry them open with a knife. For more tips on how to shuck clams look here.
Chop clam meat and reserve it and liquor (juice from shell) in a bowl. Stretch dough according to directions. Mince garlic and stir into olive oil. Drizzle over crust dough. Sprinkle on clam meat, parsley, and cheeses. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is as crisp as you like. Drizzle on a bit more olive oil and serve.