Pizza ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Pizza)

A seafood Pizza is just perfect on a night when one doesn’t feel like having pasta.  What no cheese?  In Italy, there are quite a number of dishes where cheese just doesn’t belong.  This pizza is one of them.  Dairy is not often mixed with Seafood in Italy, however there are exceptions.   For now, savor in the this pizza with the flavors of the sea.  You might be pleasantly surprised. 

 I receive countless inquiries on how to make the perfect pizza crust.  The problem is, we tend to over think the simplicities of the every day kitchen.  Get your frying pan out and give this a try.  Another secret is pre cooking your seafood some in the same pan you will ultimately turn out your pizza.  The crust takes on all the flavor.  
There is no turning back.  Buon Appetito!
One 13 inch frying pan (Cast Iron, any size will really do).
3 large cloves of garlic, sliced in half (you will later discard them)
One pint of small cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon  hot red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine (clams)
1 additional tablespoon of olive oil to brush onto your dough
6-8 jumbo shrimp, cleaned, leave the peeling on.   You will finish cleaning them before assembly on pizza
1 pound clams (baby, small, little neck or of equal kind), fresh or frozen with shells if available in your area
One pizza dough  recipe cut in half (I had one in the freezer, ready to go)
Unlike the usual pizza, using a skillet or frying pan requires some extra steps.
When dealing with fish and tomato’s, there is almost always pre cooking involved.  Just be patient.  I promise it comes together.
Preheat you oven to 425 degrees/ bake/
Make appropriate adjustments for convection cooking.  I do not suggest it here.
Roll out your dough a bit larger than your skillet.  Leave it right on the counter.  Be sure there is plenty of flour underneath so it won’t stick to your counter.
Heat your pan/skillet to medium
add your garlic and swirl in the pan.  Leave them large, you will remove them later.
Add tomatoes and smash them open with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add salt and cook for 5 minutes.  They will soften.  Let them almost stick to the pan.  
Remove them and place in a bowl.
Add your shrimp and cook for 1 minutes on each side/ remove into a bowl.  Mine were jumbo shrimp.  They will finish cooking later.

Add your clams, turn the heat up a little more and mix until heated.  If you are using fresh / frozen, keep mixing for a few minutes until the clams open.  Add 1/2 cup white wine and let the clams continue to cook until all the liquid is practically gone from the pan.
Place in a bowl.  Begin removing the meat from the clam.  Keep your shells for presentation.

Once your ingredients are cooked through, remove them from the pan.  Wipe out your skillet with paper towels.  Drizzle some cornmeal on the bottom of your skillet.  This will help to keep the bottom of the pizza dry, firm and crunchy when cooked.
Set it on the stove and carefully place your dough inside the pan.  Any overlap can be folded over.  You might need to cool your pan first some. 
 Let it rest inside your pan for 10 minutes.  With a pastry brush, brush some olive oil across your dough.  Sprinkle with salt. 
Place in a preheated, 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye on it.
Don’t panic if it rises some again.  When its slightly stiff and light golden, remove from the oven. 
Carefully place your ingredients around your pizza.  Place your shells onto the pizza too.  You should remove them before slicing.  
Bake for 10-15 minutes more until everything is dark golden in color. .If you are not using jumbo shrimp, add them at the end, about 5 minutes or so before your pizza is ready.  
 Check under your pizza by lifting with a knife or metal spatula.  The pizza is done with the bottom is slightly golden and stiff, the cornmeal has stuck some to the bottom  and you can smell the fragrant pizza.  Don’t forget to remove your shells from the top of your pizza before taking a bite.   There for additional flavor and you will impress your guests.
 Ovens will vary.  Grab some light, crisp, Pinot Grigio and enjoy!  Buon Appetito!
Special note:  Use the largest shrimp Possible.
Adjust your cooking time for a thicker crust.  This takes practice.  It’s extremely important to pre cook your crust or your pizza will not rise while cooking and be to soft. 

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