The Marinara “Redondo” Pizza
In my house it’s only my son, Owen, and I who love seafood. When making pizzas for the family I usually make one for us – something that is “our” pizza. One of my favorites to make is just starting with a nice simple marinara with great tomatoes, thinly sliced garlic and some oregano and olive oil as the base and add whatever seafood I’ve picked up. The marinara is an amazing pizza on it’s own, but also a brilliant base for a seafood pizza.
From what I’ve read, pizza evolved from a simple delicious flatbread with tomato sauce into what we call pizza today, that can have so many other delicious ingredients. Early marinara pizzas were often topped with simple fresh fish that were caught by local fisherman in Naples. When the fish were not available, the popularity of the flatbread with sauce continued to grow and was flavored with garlic and oregano. It makes my mouth water thinking about it.
Peter Reinhart always says, “Pizza is just dough with something on it.” That’s really how it all started. with great cooks and chefs using ingredients they could get their hands on — usually from their local environment, making the best food they could to satisfy themselves. But more likely, these original early artisans were striving to satisfy their customers and experimented with ingredients to keep them coming back.
So, this got me thinking recently, ”What is my personal, local pizza?” I make so many different pizzas and have access to ingredients from all over the world. If Whole Foods doesn’t have it, I can find specialty ingredients on Amazon, or many other sources. What can I identify as my local pizza that expresses where I live here in Southern California, in Redondo Beach?
The Marinara with seafood!
The freshest specialty ingredients I can find here would have to be live clams, shellfish, crab and fresh seafood in the many local markets. One of my favorite places to go is down to the harbor where there is a classic fish market called Quality Seafood with a vast array of fresh live seafood. When I want to make a seafood pizza, I’ll head down to the harbor. This often takes more time than I intended as there’s a good chance I’ll end up sampling the goods over a beer, which takes a bit more time!
The Marinara is a great base for a seafood pizza. You can toss on shrimp, clams, mussels, squid, or really any combination of seafood. To make this officially my Redondo “local” version of something I didn’t even invent (seafood on a pizza), I will usually add some spicy heat and other interesting ingredients (like nduja) to these pizzas. Instead of using typical Italian chilies, I instead go with the Fresno chili, which is always abundant in most markets in Southern California. After that, I’ll see what else pops up as I shop that may enhance the flavors.
I’ll call this pizza my Marinara Redondo. The beauty of this baby is that you can add anything you want to top it as long as you start with a marinara and then add seafood. Below is my Marinara Redondo with Clams recipe.
The Marinara Redondo with Clams:
– Your favorite dough recipe
– Peter’s Hand Crushed Tomato Sauce
– Sliced Garlic
– Fresh or Dried Oregano
– Olive Oil
– Clams (Small clams of any sort)
– Lemon wedge
– Fresno Chilies
– Nduja – or, other salted pork product
– Make Peter’s Hand Crushed Tomato Sauce *Link
Place sliced Fresno chilies into a cast iron pan with some olive oil and a little garlic. Sauce until soft – maybe starting to brown on the edges. Add fresh clams to the pan and pour in some of the beer you are drinking. Squeeze in some lemon and toss the wedge into the pan. Slide them into the Wood Fired oven, or onto the stove top and saute until they open. You’re done. What you have now is some clams, Fresno chilies to go on the finished pizza and a dipping broth for your pizza crusts. Delicious!
Spread the tomato sauce on the dough. This pizza is about the tomatoes and how it serves it’s “guests” — that is, the various seafood. You could make it with less types of seafood to give the “guests” more exposure, or a lot, like I did on this pie. Try it with a little sauce on one pizza and a lot on another to see what you like.
Add sliced garlic, oregano, and drizzle with olive oil; then, slide your pizza into the fire (or oven). In my Primavera WFO, after a few turns and about a minute and a half, the pizza gets a quick lift to the dome and comes out piping hot. Add your seafood toppings and serve.
This pizza rocks! I make enough seafood to put some on the pizza and still have plenty left over for picking and broth for dipping my crusts in after the pizza is gone. The addition of the spicy sweet Fresno’s makes this truly local, celebrating our Californian chilies and, though, not local to California, the La Quercia Nduja adds another spicy-salty pork flavor accent that is quite unique.
I keep a package of Nduja in my freezer and when I want to use it, pull it out and slice off what I need and, then, back in the freezer it goes so I can use it on many dishes.
Of course, I don’t think I have to tell you to remove your shells!
Pizza Quest Info
Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.
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