Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon

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My hypothesis was simple. A pizza shell would work better for grilling than dough because it would be less brittle or prone to tears.

I was incorrect.

The first thing the shell did when I put it on the grill was break nearly in half. The shell was rather thick and dried out much quicker than fresh dough. Worse, it pitched a tent, going convex on me and letting the toppings roll off onto the grill surface.

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I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but it wasn’t a success.

The topping blend should be a good mixture. You really can’t go wrong with clams and pancetta. I opted out of mozzarella. The first time I ever had clam pizza was at Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, where the guy at the counter recommended that I skip the cheese. I’ve tried to recreate it with varying degrees of success over the years. This was a low point.

WHAT WORKED: Frozen clam meat. I’m glad I didn’t waste money on fresh clams.

WHAT DIDN’T: The pizza shell.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She was quiet. I took her silence as a confirmation of my failure.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Maybe with fresh dough, but not with the shell. Never with the shell.

Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 lb. pizza dough (fresh dough, not a shell), prepared to cook
  • 1 lb. clam meat
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino romao cheese, grated

Season your grill grates by dipping a paper towel in vegetable oil and wiping them down thoroughly. Preheat your grill to the hottest possible temperature.

2013-08-25 at 17-08-18In the meantime, heat a medium saute pan or skillet over high heat. Add the pancetta and brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned pancetta to a bowl and set aside. Add garlic to the rendered fat and brown. Add the clams and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add up to 1 tbsp. of olive oil, if necessary, to keep the clams from sticking or burning. Transfer to a second bowl.

2013-08-25 at 17-13-04Place your dough directly on the grill grates, close the lid of the grill and let cook 2 minutes. Flip the dough over and top with pancetta and any accumulated oil, as well as the clams and any accumulated juices. Sprinkle with romano cheese and close the grill lid. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and serve.


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