There are more than two thousand different varieties of clams around the world with two main groups of the shellfish used most often for making many interesting seafood dishes.

Soft shelled and hard shelled clams are the most popular types although the shells of both are quite hard but the formers’ are much thinner and easier to break open. Some common names for soft shelled clams include longnecks, steamers, and Ipswich clams.

Depending on location, a few hard shelled clams you may see available include littleneck, cherrystone, butter clams, rock clams, and quahogs.

All types of clams will need cleaned thoroughly in either fresh or salted water. One easy trick for cleaning clams is to add some cornmeal to the water which helps to filter dirt and debris. Before cooking clams you will want to make sure they are completely free of all dirt, grit, and sand.

Store clams in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a container able to catch the fluids that will drain out.

Soft shelled clams are ideal for steaming and they can also be fried as is or dredged in breading first. Use soft shelled clams in soups and chowders and you can also make a spicy sauce with chopped clams, olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt and black pepper, and parmesan cheese.

To make a white clam sauce also use olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper along with chopped parsley and onions combined with minced clams.

Clam Salad Pizza Recipe

What You Need

  • 20 ounces prepared pizza dough
  • 1 pound clams, drained well, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

How to Make It 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets or 2 12 inch pizza pans. Divide the dough into 2 sections and press each down into the pan. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough just starts to brown.

Drain the clams with a colander or strainer. Line the strainer with several paper towels and place the drained clams on top. Press the clams gently to remove any excess moisture remaining.

Distribute the clams evenly amongst the partially baked pizza crusts. Sprinkle the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste on top of the clams then drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake the pizzas again for another 8 to 10 minutes taking care not to overcook, as the clams will become tough.

While the pizzas are baking, toss the mixed salad greens with the halved cherry tomatoes, the wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and top each with equal amounts of salad. Serve the clam salad pizza while hot.

Serves 4.

Pizza is one of those great foods that does not need any side dishes to be a complete and filling meal. Add to any ordinary pizza dough recipe using fresh ingredients like garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil for an authentic Italian taste.

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