This pizza cap­tures the taste of New Eng­land clam chow­der

Kuwait Times - - WHAT’S ON -

Fresh shell­fish is one of the hall­marks of a good sum­mer va­ca­tion, and it is best eaten bare­foot with a sea breeze and chilled rose. But life is not al­ways a beach and we are, re­gret­tably, not al­ways on va­ca­tion. Luck­ily, with a few stay­ca­tion-ready recipes stored away, you can eas­ily trans­port your­self and all of your friends to the shores of Cape Cod.

This Grilled White Pizza with Cock­les, Lemon and Kale, with a rich creamy sauce rem­i­nis­cent of New Eng­land clam chow­der, is a re­fresh­ing change of pace from a sum­mer full of ham­burg­ers and grilled veg­eta­bles. Bright lemon zest pops against the sea­son’s sweet­est clams, while lightly charred pizza dough of­fers a crunchy smok­i­ness that no oys­ter cracker would dare to chal­lenge. Culinary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica chef Scott Swartz says that grilling pizza, es­pe­cially this one, is great for sum­mer­time par­ties, be­cause each com­po­nent can be made ahead.

He sug­gests, “Grill one side of the pizza dough, then re­move it, cooked-side up, to a lightly oiled tray. Put your top­pings on the cooked side and then, just be­fore serv­ing, re­turn to the grill, cover, and let the dough crisp and the top­pings warm through. This way, the dough can be grilled way ahead of time and quickly fin­ished when ready to eat.” Though the fla­vors of this pizza are rich and bold, there’s still leaves plenty of room for per­son­al­iza­tion. Add fa­mil­iar chow­der in­gre­di­ents like ba­con or sweet sum­mer corn for an ode to the clas­sic. Or try roasted poblanos, caramelized fen­nel, or spicy chorizo for some­thing new and ex­cit­ing. And if this feels a lit­tle heavy on the sum­mer bod, you can make the sauce with­out the cream. Since you’ll still need it to be saucy, we would add a bit more wine and a lit­tle squeeze of lemon juice. Re­mem­ber, though, that the whole thing is topped with kale, which ba­si­cally makes it a salad, right?

Speak­ing of kale, we like it here be­cause it’s a mild green with a tex­ture that holds up well to cook­ing. If it’s not for you, you can use spinach (just skip the pre-cook­ing step), Swiss chard, or even fla­vor­ful mus­tard greens. This would also be equally de­li­cious with blanched as­para­gus, thinly sliced broc­coli, or even shaved cab­bage.

Cock­les are a nice choice for this pizza, since they are small and ten­der, but fresh and lo­cal should take prece­dence. Choose what­ever clam va­ri­ety is of the best qual­ity where you are, and make sure to keep them nice and cold while you pre­pare the other in­gre­di­ents.

Most store-bought clams should be rel­a­tively clean and free of sand, but you’ll want to be ex­tra sure, since in most coastal re­gions, serv­ing gritty clams is pun­ish­able by a fine of one case of cold beer. Re­frig­er­ate your clams in a bowl of salted wa­ter for at least a few hours for peace of mind. Dis­card any clams with bro­ken or dam­aged shells, or any open clams that do not close when gen­tly tapped.

This pizza makes enough a fam­ily din­ner, with a nice sum­mer salad on the side. The recipe can eas­ily be dou­bled or even tripled for a party, and the dough can be shaped into rec­tan­gles for easy ap­pe­tizer por­tions, or even into small in­di­vid­ual rounds-what­ever floats your boat. It’s still sum­mer, so you can do what you want. Save the rules for Septem­ber.

GRILLED WHITE PIZZA WITH COCK­LES, LEMON AND KALE In­gre­di­ents

Serv­ings: 4 Start to fin­ish: 1 hour 3 cups torn kale leaves, from about 1/2 bunch 2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 4 cloves gar­lic, thinly sliced 1 shal­lot, minced 1 cup heavy cream 1 pound, 8 ounces of cock­les, lit­tle necks, or other small, sea­sonal clam, rinsed and soaked, if needed

2 tea­spoons corn­starch, mixed with 1 ta­ble­spoon wa­ter, to make a slurry 1/4 cup grated Parme­san cheese 1/4 tea­spoon freshly ground black pep­per 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen 1 ta­ble­spoon canola oil 1/2 tea­spoon crushed red chili flakes 1 tea­spoon lemon zest (see note) Lemon wedges, for serv­ing

Prepa­ra­tion

In a large bowl, pre­pare an ice wa­ter bath and set aside. Bring a medium pot of wa­ter to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 3 min­utes. Use tongs or a large slot­ted spoon to trans­fer the kale to the ice wa­ter bath to cool. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large lid­ded saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the gar­lic and shal­lot and cook, stir­ring con­stantly, until translu­cent, about 4 min­utes. Add the wine, cream, and clams, and stir to coat. Cover and cook until the clamshells have opened, about 4 min­utes. Re­move from the heat and use a slot­ted spoon or tongs to trans­fer clams to a bowl.

Re­turn the pan to low heat and bring the cook­ing liq­uid to a sim­mer. Add the corn­starch slurry, mix­ing con­stantly to in­cor­po­rate. Re­turn to a sim­mer and add the cheese and pep­per. Sim­mer, stir­ring con­stantly, until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thick­ened, about 3 min­utes. Trans­fer to a bowl, strain­ing through a mesh sieve if de­sired, and set aside to cool.

Mean­while, re­move the clam meat from the shells and roughly chop (leave some clams in the shell for gar­nish, if you like). Dis­card shells. To make the pizza, pre­pare a grill for medium-heat cook­ing. Roll or stretch the pizza dough into a 14-inch round. Lightly brush one side with about half of the canola oil, then place oil-side down on the grill. Cook, cov­ered, until the dough is browned and crisp on the bot­tom, 2 to 3 min­utes.

Care­fully trans­fer the dough, cooked-side down, onto a large bak­ing sheet. Brush the top with the re­main­ing canola oil, then flip. Spread the cooked side with a thin layer of cream sauce (you may not use it all), leav­ing a 2-inch bor­der around the edge of the dough. Top with chopped clams, kale, and chili flakes and cook until crisp and golden brown and top­pings are warmed through, 2 to 3 min­utes. Sprin­kle with lemon zest, then slice and serve with lemon wedges. - AP

Chef’s Note

For a sweet and sa­vory vari­a­tion, use chopped can­died lemon peel in place of fresh zest. It can be found in most spe­cialty mar­kets.

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