The Best Type Of Clam To Use For New Haven-Style Pizza

We do a lot to pizzas in the United States. We dress them in red, white, or pesto sauces, melt a whole slew of cheeses on top like mozzarella or brie, and don't even get us started on all the different toppings you can have, including bacon, pineapple, pears, sardines, and if you're in New Haven, Connecticut, you can even choose to have clams baked on top!

You read that right. The New England area is well renowned for its more unique recipes (see Indian pudding and coffee milk for more examples), and thanks to Connecticut, the white clam pie is one of them. The odds are that if you weren't raised in or around New Haven, you haven't heard of, let alone had an opportunity to try white clam pie. Eater claims that the town of New Haven has its own distinct pizza style that came to be thanks to its large Italian community. It was all thanks to the Italian families in the area that the New Haven-style pizza was born out of the Neapolitan pizza, which was notable for its thin crust. These signature pies were charred in brick ovens, covered in mozzarella, and sprinkled with some delicious clams.

Don't knock it 'til you try it!

The white clam pizza is serious business in the coastal town. The Cooking Channel says that it is a traditional New Haven-style pizza and is thin-crusted and efficiently seasoned, and local clams were just eventually added because how else are you supposed to make a pizza an iconic symbol of Connecticut? There is no tomato sauce on this white clam pizza, hence the "white" in the title. Instead, MasterClass describes it as being coated in a clam liquor and olive oil to create a creamy sauce. But arguably, the most important aspect of this pizza is choosing the right clams.

Littleneck clams are small, which makes them perfect for a pizza topping (you don't want to fight for every bite). According to Linton Sea Food, Littleneck clams pack a lot of flavors. They are reportedly salty and perfectly chewy, which makes them an excellent addition to a creamy-tasting pizza. They are harvested all along America's northeastern coast and are the top choice for a variety of recipes. Vice claims that it was New Haven's own Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, built in 1925, that truly established the white clam pie as a staple Connecticut dish, and both Frank Pepe's restaurant and his recipe have become a favorite for pizza-loving Americans.