Written Recipes
Redondo Marinara Pizza with Clams
Brad English

I decided to make up some clams for a friend's going away party.  Mike is leaving again to go back to work on the TV show Grimm up in Portland, Oregon.  I don't think of clams when I think of Mike.  I don't think of food much either!  Let's say he's a little less adventurous than some of us. But, since we're all gathering for a party, I decided that my contribution would be steamed clams with some great crusty bread.  Maybe Mikey will try it and like it after all?!

I was up early, thinking about what to do.  I browsed the internet for some ideas and remembered the clams we did at the Fire Within Pizza Conference using beer to steam the clams.  My wheels were turning as I made my plan to head down to Quality Seafood Market, one of my favorite seafood places, down at the pier in Redondo Beach.  What I like is that clams remind me of the East Coast or perhaps even something you'd find in the Pacific Northwest -- both with far more robust seafood cultures than here in Los Angeles.  We do love our fish tacos here, but the "get your hands in there and tear apart your fresh steamed seafoods" just aren't as popular here.  We have plenty of ocean, and great seafood, but culturally, it's just not as abundant and revered.  Luckily, there are some cultures in our melting pot community that do love their seafood, and so, at least, you can find some great places like Quality Seafood.

I decided to not waste this opportunity to make a pizza for lunch before the party.  I was just up in San Francisco and had an incredibly awesome spicy clam pizza at Pizzeria Delfina.  Why not kill two birds with one bag of clams?  As we sat having our morning coffee I talked my wife and daughter into joining me for a late morning trip to the pier.  Clams baby!  Clams!!

I got there around 10:30AM to find a relatively quiet scene at the fish market. It was before the lunch rush and, though open, the fish market was still in set-up mode.  Some people were already tearing their fresh steamed delights apart and washing it all down with a variety of beverages as the marine layer fought for control over the harbor.

It took me a while to get served.  Quality Seafood does a good amount of business selling their food to go as well as taking it out of the fresh tanks and steaming it or preparing it right there for you.  I was only behind one gentleman, but he was ordering up a gargantuan feast of steamed shellfish and fresh sea urchin.  He walked down the line selecting clams and muscles to add to his plates and, since it was early, the other guys were all busy getting other things done.  No worries, I wasn't in a hurry.  I took pictures and started eyeballing the oysters.  While waiting, I ordered up a half dozen oysters and a beer - it was now approaching 11 AM, why not?  It seemed fitting and would make for a better story, right?

I got my clams, enough for the party, and a pizza, and walked over to enjoy my oysters before we headed back.  My wife and daughter don't eat that kind of seafood, so they were all mine and so we just sat and talked and enjoyed the morning.  The pier would soon grow crowded as the sun began to win the battle over the misty marine layer.  This time of year it's hard to find a time when the crowds haven't overrun our town, so it's nice to have a moment like this in the summer.  It feels like home rather than a bustling tourist spot.

The oysters were fresh, cool, and with some Cholula Hot Sauce, and even a drizzle of beer over them -- they tasted fantastic!  This was a great start to the day.

Off to make the pizza....

 

As I mentioned, I was up in San Francisco recently and made it to Pizzeria Delfina one night, where I had their Clam Pie.  They used cherrystone clams out of the shell, tomato sauce, oregano, a little pecorino Romano and hot peppers.  This was my inspiration for my claim pie.  It was a bright, spicy tomato pie with a delicious crust and the perfect amount of clams.  In a way, it's a perfect Marinara pizza -- a celebration of the sea.

 

 

Littleneck Clams with Chorizo and Jalapeño Pizza

- Dough - Drunken Mesquite Dough *Edit: I checked my notes while posting a new recipe demo and realized that this pizza was actually made with my Brew in Germania Dough.  With any dough this pizza is a winner and I will be playing with this one for a while!

- Bianco DiNapoli Hand Crushed Organic Tomatoes

- Steamed Chorizo and Jalepeno Clams

- Fresh Italian Parsley

- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- Grated Parmesan

 

 

The Clams:

- Littleneck, or other suitable fresh clams

- EVO

- Purple Onion chopped

- Jalapeño chopped

- Spicy Spanish Chorizo sliced

- Chopped Garlic (to taste)

- Chopped Italian Parsley

- Hand crushed tomatoes (Bianco Dinapoli if you are lucky enough to find any)

- Favorite beer (In this case, my keg was putting out a Firestone Double Barrel Ale)

- Fresh Squeezed Lemon

 

This is going to make the topping and the sauce for the pizza!  It's pretty darn delish!

Saute the chopped garlic, onions and jalapeños until just soft -- about 3 minutes.

Add in the sliced chorizo and continue to sauté for another few minutes.  You'll see the ingredients all start to become one tasty looking base for the clams.

Add the clams (in the shell).

Add some hand crushed tomatoes.

Pour in some beer.  *Note: I poured in enough to cover about 1/2 way up the clams.  Once we remove the clams, we'll let this sauce continue to cook down to concentrate the flavors for the sauce.

Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste.

Once the liquid is boiling, cover the pot for about 5-6 minutes or until the clams open up.  Once this happens, add some more fresh chopped parsley and spoon the clams out into a separate bowl to cool.  Don't overcook them, they are going into the oven as well!

Continue to boil the sauce with the lid off the pot.  You can use less beer to make this faster if you prefer.  The clams will steam with less.  You can also add more tomatoes to make a thicker sauce, but I was going for a combination of a pizza sauce and a clam sauce.

 

 

The Pizza:

Spread your dough.

Spoon out some of your Clam/Beer/Chorizo/Jalapeno Sauce/topping onto the pizza dough.

Add your clams (pulled from their shells) onto the pizza

Sprinkle with a little Parmesan Cheese

Drizzle with a little EVO

 

Slide her into the oven!

Bake.

Remove.

 

Add some more fresh chopped parsley.

Drizzle with a little EVO and squeezed lemon juice and serve!

 

The take away:

It's a nice day when you start it off with your wife and daughter (my son was sleeping at home) with a walk on the pier.  It's nicer still when you have some fresh oysters and a light crisp beer while there.  And, it is even better when you come home and whip a pizza this good out of your home oven!

Let's just think about this sauce.  You may say there's some stuff going on here.  I was lucky to start with the best tomatoes you can find (Bianco Dinapoli), but we added purple onion, garlic, a relatively spicy, salty, cured spanish chorizo, jalapeño, beer and clams to it!  Let's just say it was good! Notice I didn't "season" the sauce.  No need.  There are flavors and seasoning coming from all angles here.

The tips/edges of the clams even charred, which was a nice textural note.  With a final drizzle of lemon this pizza rocked!

 

 

This story doesn't take us into the night when I steamed up a huge batch of the clams and served them with some toasted bread for delivery and "mop up" purposes.  I will however tell you that Mike did try the clams and guess what?  He liked them!  He liked them!  Mikey likes them!

I think I'll call this the Redondo Marinara Pizza!

 

*I had a few clams left over and made a second pizza.  My son Owen and I devoured them.  My wife and daughter watched.

 

Enjoy...I took lots of pictures for this one!

 

 

 
Drunken Mesquite Dough
Brad English

What do you do with some Firestone Double Barrel Ale, Fire Roasted Western Honey-Mesquite Flour and a need for pizza? Well the answer is simple: you make some of my desert-inspired Mesquite Dough.  However, you not only sip on your beer while making it, but you make the dough with some of your beer!

I set out to just make the dough, and took some pictures of the set-up because it just seemed like a "cool"  thing to do.  Or, maybe it's because I often take pictures and blog about what I do around the kitchen?  You decide.  Anyway, as this dough came together it turned out to be a wet one.  So, I started taking some more pictures as I went along.  Here at Pizza Quest we see a lot of comments and I also get a lot of personal questions about making dough, and one recurring question is how to handle a sticky wet dough?  And this one was definitely sticky and not just tacky. I must have simply added too much beer.

I remember when I first started making my own pizza dough how it scared the heck out of me when I encountered a really wet/sticky dough.  If you haven't handled much dough, the sticky dough syndrome can intimidate you enough to stay away from the whole dough-making thing for years. Years!!  If you're hungry and determined, then maybe you will fight through it.  You'll see in the photos that I added flour and kept stretching and folding this dough to get it to the right consistency.  I tried to do so as little adjusting as possible, but it was a pretty wet, beer soaked blob of flour.  Each time I performed the "Stretch and Fold" it got a little firmer.

 

This dough is based on Peter's Neo-Neopolitan Dough, which is a great home pizza dough!  It's truly the easiest, and I always get great results with it in my home oven.  So, when I tweaked it for my original Mesquite Dough, Peter had suggested using about 10% Mesquite flour in my quest to create a desert-inspired pizza.  That dough came out amazingly well and was a perfect platform for that particular pizza, which I blogged about awhile back.  The mesquite flour gives the dough an earthy, nutty flavor, but it's also very light and smooth tasting.  The mesquite flour actually makes the whole dough a little more velvety, if that makes sense. So here's the latest version, with me pushing the envelope as far as I could to see where it would take me.

For more information and fun here are the links to my original Mesquite Dough Pizzas.

The Hwy 15 Pizza: *Link

A Wandering Desert Road Pizza:  *Link

 

Drunken Mesquite Dough

- 22.6 Oz (just short of 4 3/4 cups) of Unbleached Bread Flour
- 2.4 Oz (about a mesquite twig tip over - half a cup) of Fire Roasted Western Honey Flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast
(or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)
- 2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz.) honey (optional)
- 2 1/4 Cups (18 Oz) Beer - A Firestone Double Barrel Ale in this case
(A little less if using the honey and, or oil)

Combine the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl first and mix with a spoon.

Add the olive oil and honey if using followed by the beer.

Mix for about 1 minute to get the ingredients to come together.  Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes and mix again for another minute until it's a relatively smooth ball that has come together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface/counter.  With a little oil on your hands fold the dough into a ball and let it rest for another 5 minutes.

Here's where my dough pictorial goes off the tracks!  You can see that this initial dough is super sticky!  It's impossible to roll/fold this dough with my hands.  I had to use an oiled dough scraper to get it off the counter and try to make it into a ball.  You'll also see in the photos that the ball was flat and just kept spreading out under it's own weight.  It didn't sit up like a standard dough ball because it was so moist.

To handle a dough this wet, I had to add a generous sprinkle of flour to the work surface and, thus, to the dough.  Once added, I performed another series of stretching and folding and let it rest again.  It took more than the couple stretch and folds to get this dough to a place where it could be handled.  You can see it sticking to the counter.  After the dry flour gets incorporated and sucked up by the wetness, the moisture still comes forth and takes over.  So, you just have to keep at it.  Add a little more flour.  Stretch and fold and let it rest.

This dough took about 4 rotations to get it to where I could stop and the dough still remained super supple, but now I could handle it (of course, if I had cut back on the water -- or the beer -- by about 1/4 cup I might not have had to make all these adjustments).

But the point of this post is to demonstrate how to work through an issue that can easily come up if you incorrectly measure ingredients, or are dealing with a wet dough.

So, if decide to make this dough, you may want to cut back the liquid just a little and you won't have quite the wet experience I had, but will still come out with an amazing tasting dough.  The flavor is nutty and light and, I want to add, the Double Barrel Ale brought out a maltiness that was terrific.

 

 

*Additional Note:

You can see below in the gallery how I had to keep adding a little flour and working the dough until it finally found the right balance.  It still remained a "wet" dough and baked up nicely in my home oven.  I hope this helps some of you get through one of these experiences.  A little music in the background and a beer in your left hand helps!

"Another Breakfast Pizza" recipe:  *Link

 

 

 
Another Breakfast Pizza
Brad English
Blog Post - Breakfast

I've been gone from these pages a while!  I have been busy with my real life, not this fantasy pizza guy life.  I've been working out of town a bit and when available, racing around to my kid's sporting events!  I thought life was busy when they were little!  It's funny how your perspective changes to catch up to reality.  One day you look back and almost always laugh at what you were thinking while going through something.  Remember worrying if your kid would ever stop sucking their thumb? Eventually that stuff all works itself out and you often only realize that after the time is gone and you are looking backwards wishing it was here again.

 

Anyway, I wanted to throw a quick post up about my first homemade pizza in a while!  I was just in San Francisco and was lucky enough to find my way over to Tony Gemignani's and Delfina Pizzeria a couple of times.  The stand out pizza for me was Tony's Detroit Style Red Top which we added sausage and caramelized onions to.  Hold the presses, this is a must try pizza!  The crust is a thick one, but it's puffy, light and delicious at the same time.   I had it more than once while in town - taking some clients there, and circling back 2 other times!  It was cooked to perfection with little crispy burnt tips of crust and cheese.  At Delfina my favorite was the Clam Pie!  It may not sound as exciting, but it was.  It was a simple pizza with a superb crispy thin crust.  The sauce had a little bite while being almost sweet and very fresh tasting.  There were just enough clams and a sprinkle of grated parmesan.  It was my friend Greg's first non cheese topped pizza that he's ever liked.  It was delicious.

So, I'm back in town now.  I had a dough ball in the freezer and took it out the night I got home.

In the morning, I turned on the oven and set the dough on the counter.  Kids off to school -- it was now time to throw a breakfast pizza together.  No eggs!  Oh well, what to do.  What did we have?  I realized I hadn't thought this through the night before.  I thought about putting the dough back and getting some ingredients and making the pizza later that day.

Canadian Bacon…

Ok, that's interesting - sounds like breakfast!  We had mozzarella, but an aged white cheddar caught my interest.  I was thinking that maybe I'd blend it with the Mozzarella, but decided to just go with the cheddar.  Ok, this will be an herb oil base and I was off to the races.

My wife had to leave for some appointments and as I was moving to start my pizza making process I realized that my camera was in her car!  Could I just make a pizza and not take pictures?!  What if this was the one?!  I know it's not really possible, because there's always another one, but it could be the temporary ONE I've been searching for - you never know.  I did have my trusty iPhone! Someone told me that the iPhone is the camera that takes the most pictures of any other type of camera now.  The pics didn't come out half bad.

Once you get in the habit of making dough and freezing it, it's not that difficult to throw a single pizza together.  You do need to think ahead enough to get the dough out with enough time to thaw, but those steps don't take much effort at all - just a little planning.

Here's my impromptu Breakfast Pizza that I whipped up.

A Quick Breakfast Pizza

-  Pizza Dough
*I had a Fire Roasted Mesquite Dough that I had made up a few weeks ago.  I will post a demo of that next week.
- Peter's Herb Oil
- Grated Aged White Cheddar
- Canadian Bacon
- Sliced Red Onion
- Salt Packed Capers to finish

 

Getting things done:

Pre-heat the oven to 550 and before you start cooking the pizza, change it to convection bake.

Spread out the dough and layer with the herb oil, cheese and top with the Canadian Bacon and sliced onion.

While the pizza is cooking, rinse off some of the capers and chop them up.  When the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle the capers over the pizza.

Slice and serve!

This pizza was surprisingly good.  I say "surprisingly" because I just used what was in my fridge that seemed like they would taste good and satisfy my breakfast quest that morning and I was happily surprised!  Had my wife made sure there was an egg in the house, this would have been a great addition to this pizza!  *Insert smile here :)!!!  Add that to your list if you make this one.

The ham and the cheese both had some deeper flavors.  The richness of the cheddar pulled out the smokiness in this otherwise simple ham.  The salty briny capers were also a terrific accent that brought a lighter brighter note to the taste profile!

My wife came home and snagged the last slice.  She looked at me and said, "That's really good!"  It was even better when hot!

Enjoy the Iphone photos!

 
Brussels-eroni Pizza
Brad English

You may think I've gone off the rails here with my pepperoni-ing of everything, but realize this isn't all I eat!  I sit around and come up with an idea and make a bunch of pizzas to try something out.  As you can see from the last few weeks, it takes some time to get these postings together.  It doesn't take nearly the time to make and devour the actual pizzas!

I have always been a fan of Brussel Sprouts.  Fortunately, these strange tasting little bulbs have become quite popular lately.  I was at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York not long ago and had some amazing Brussel Sprouts and also swung through Boulder recently and had an amazing pizza that Kelly Whitaker adorned with clusters of brussels as a topping.  My favorite way to eat them is roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper and then, sometimes, slicing them in half and finishing them in a pan with some shallots and pancetta.  There are tons of great recipes out there for these babies.

While I was thinking of my pepperon-ification of everything, Kelly's pizza popped into my mind.  What if I roasted them 80% of the way and then sliced them into thick discs and seasoned them to taste a bit like pepperoni?  That could be interesting.  There is a little bite in a brussel.  That slight bitterness may be interesting with the spicy pepperoni flavors.

I looked up Momofuku Roasted Brussels Sprouts and found this recipe online - which I will now have to try!  Of course David Chang uses fish sauce which adds such an amazing flavor to almost everything.  My friend Kim, who runs my favorite home kitchen (I've featured her here, along with her mom, making "Mom's Soy Pickled Jalapeños" along with her sister, who came down to help us make some amazing Vietnamese inspired pizzas) says she adds fish sauce to almost everything.  "It just intensifies the flavors and tastes so good!"  When I made my first pepperoni vegetable with broccoli stalks, I used a liquid pepperoni sauce that used fish sauce and it came out great.  But, lately I have just been using dry ingredients because some of my family don't like that flavor as much.

Here is the link the the recipe for the Momofuku Roasted Brussels on a food blog called Food52:  *LINK

I would recommend blending this or maybe sprinkling some fish sauce into my brussels-pepperoni sprouts as an option!

 

Roasted Brussels-eroni Sprouts Pizza

- Favorite Dough

*I made up my "desert dough" with 10% Fire Roasted Mesquite Flour!  *Link

- Peter's Basic Tomato Sauce

*I had a #10 Can of Bianco Dinapoli Tomatoes and I wasn't afraid to use it!

- Fresh Mozzarella

- Brads Brussels-eroni *Recipe below

- Pepperoni Seasoning *Recipe below

 

Here we go:

Roast your brussels.  Clean off any dirty tips and wash the brussel bulbs.  Place them in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil over them and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place them into the oven to roast until just done, or maybe just a little underdone - so you can cut them into slices and have them hold together.  Most recipes call for about 30-40 minutes in an oven at 400 degrees.  But, I had my oven cranked to 550, so I checked them at 20 minutes and pulled them a little bit after that when the tips were turning brown and they were soft enough.  You could do this earlier as well and let them cool.  Mine were still hot when I was cutting them, which makes that dance a little more entertaining for your fingers.

After slicing them up, sprinkle them with your pepperoni seasoning.

 

Pepperoni Seasoning:

- Salt - 1 Tbsp

- Pepper - 1 Tbsp

- Paprika - 1 Tbsp

- Ground Mustard Seed - 1 Tbsp

- Ground Fennel Seed - 1 Tbsp

- Crushed Red Pepper - 1.5 Tbsp

- Garlic Powder - 1/2 Tbsp

This is where I started.  After I mixed it up, I added a little more paprika and played with it a little.  My next run with the Brussel Sprouts will see some fish sauce added into the mix.

Season the sprouts on both sides!

 

Construction:

- Spread the dough

- Spread the sauce

- Sip your beer

- Place some of your fresh mozzarella around the pizza

- Lay out your sprouts

 

Into the oven.

So, here we go into the oven.  In these photos you will see a new item in my oven.  I recently acquired a new pizza cooking surface - called The Baking Steel.  I've been using this for the past few pizza making sessions in my oven set up.  I've placed this in the center of my oven and used my thick Forno Bravo Pizza Stone on top of this because I like the idea that the heat retained in the top stone would radiate back down onto my pizza.  (My other theory is that having a couple stones in the oven, helps maintain the temperature when making multiple pizzas.  You can also rotate which stone you use as the pizzas take heat out of one stone you can cook the next one on the other stone etc.)

Anyway, there's something interesting going on here with this Baking Steel product.  I'm getting 6 minute pizzas consistently.  My stone-only set-up may come close to that for the first pizza, but usually is in the 8-9 minute range.  There seems to be a very good heat distribution going on with the steel.

The other nice thing is that it comes with a carrying case and since it's steel, it's easily transported without fear of it cracking.  I'm still a huge fan of my thick stone, but this new product is a great addition to the potential tools we have for cooking pizza in our home ovens!

 

6 Minutes Later:

I pulled the pizza and steel out on the rack to take a picture of the pizza before it came out of the oven.  Looks great!  Nice crust.  If you haven't tried this "desert pizza crust" I came up with, I highly recommend it.  The mesquite flour makes the whole dough smooth and almost velvety.  Very interesting.

Look at this oozy pile of brussels-eroni and melted fresh mozz swimming in a sea of Bianco Dinapoli goodness.  I'd call this pizza a success.  Give it a whirl and let us know how it comes out for you.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 
Neo Neapolitan Sourdough Pizza Dough
Teresa Greenway

This pizza dough is a sourdough variation of Peter Reinhart’s Neo Neapolitan Pizza dough. The dough uses a small amount of commercial yeast and sourdough starter at 100% hydration. The result of this high hydration dough is a bubbly crisp pizza crust, which is easy to stretch out once you allow it to proof long enough.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast)
1 oz/28g hot water, about 115F degrees.
--Add the yeast to the hot water in a small container and stir.  Allow the yeast to proof for about 15-20 minutes.

Next, in a large proofing container or mixing bowl add together:

8 oz/226g of ripe and vigorous 100% hydration starter (ie, wet sponge starter as opposed to a firm starter)
13 oz/368g warm water, around 110F degrees
1 oz/28g olive or vegetable oil
.5 oz/14g brown sugar
.5 oz sea salt
--Mix all if the above ingredients by hand or mixer until incorporated and then add:

The yeast mixture
20 oz/567g bread flour

--Mix in the flour for about 1 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture forms a sticky dough ball. Allow the dough to proof in a lightly oiled, covered container for four hours. Fold the dough every half hour during the four hours for a total of six folds. It will firm up slightly and be less sticky.

--Once the dough is proofed, divide it into four or five pieces and form dough balls. Mist or brush the dough balls with oil, place them in a covered container, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Before using, allow the dough to warm up, uncovered, but well oiled, at room temperature for at least two hours. One-half-hour before baking, stretch or roll dough out and allow it to set for a while until baking time. (I stretch my dough and place it on parchment paper.)

--Then cover the dough with more oil (preferably olive oil), spread on your sauce and toppings and bake (baking time varies) in your very hottest oven. (Start with your oven rack and stone on the very bottom shelf preheat for at least an hour. Every oven is different so, if the pizzas bake too dark on the underside, move the stone up a shelf or two till you achieve an evenly baked pizza).

Note: The pizzas in the photos were made by Alexandra Jean and Teresa Greenway. For more information on baking with sourdough, my website is: www.northwestsourdough.com

 

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