Top This: Clam Pizza à la Seattle's Delancey

Top This

Learn how to work a new topping onto your pies.

[Photographs: Adam Lindsley]

One of the most popular specials at Delancey in Seattle is Brandon Pettit's clam pie, which was inspired not by New Haven's famous clam pizzas (he recently discovered he didn't care for them at all) but by the version prepared at Franny's in Brooklyn. This pie only appears on the Delancey menu on weekends, and it always sells out fast.

Only fresh clams—delivered the same day the pizzas are made—are used. Canned clams just don't taste right. So Pettit and his cohorts Ryan Swanson and pastry chef Brandi Henderson are only able to make about 30 clam pizzas before they run out of the bivalves.

You should be able to get at least two clam pies from this recipe, more if you're being stingy with the toppings. The most important thing is not to overcook your pizza, or else you'll end up with rubbery clams.


What You'll Need

All amounts are approximate, so don't worry if you're not exactly on the nose with your measurements.

  • 40 small Manila clams
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 2 cups white wine (preferably more dry than sweet)
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche
  • 3/4 cup aged mozzarella
  • Handful of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks
  • 1 or 2 preserved Meyer lemons (preferably organic), rinds sliced into thin strips (Here's a recipe to make them yourself.)
  • Chile oil (use Adam Kuban's version)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Neapolitan pizza dough, enough for two pies. (If you don't have a favorite recipe, use this one)

The Long and Short of It

Note: Unless you have direct access to some already-preserved Meyer lemons, it's going to take at least two weeks to prepare them, so don't expect to use this recipe on short notice. Unless, of course, you're the type of person who keeps preserved lemons on hand year-round, in which case, go to town!

Essentially, you're steaming the clams until they pop open in a pot with butter, wine, and shallots. The cooked clams are removed from the liquid and the shells are discarded. To really bring home the umami, you'll then reduce the delicious steaming liquid until only a couple of tablespoons remain, then whisk in some crème fraîche.

See also: Delancey, the Pinnacle of Seattle Pizza »

Top your crust with fresh and aged mozzarella, the clams, the crème fraîche mixture, and thin strips of preserved Meyer lemons. Cook your pie and finish it off with some hot oil and parsley and you'll have an eyes-rolling-back-into-your-head-good clam pie.

Check out the slideshow for a more in-depth look at the process behind this beauty.



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