Every month a bunch of us get together for an arts and crafts party. We take turns hosting. There’s always lots of good food to eat and, unfortunately for our craft skillz, lots to drink as well. Never try to reminisce your way back to sophomore year and remember how to braid friendship bracelets after a glass or two of champagne, that’s all I’m saying. Each party is sort of like one of those book clubs where no one reads the book and it’s just a chance to get together and have a drink and share some laughs and gossip. But there’s always one person at the book club who actually read the book and comes to discuss it, and we have the equivalent of that person at our craft parties. It’s Mariah. She always brings her A-game and she focuses on her craft with laser-like concentration. I like to think I’m crafty but once I get a good lunch in my belly, I’m ready for a nap more than I’m ready to do some crafting.
This time around, it was my turn to host and we were gonna do some more of the watercolor painting I learned at a workshop a few weeks ago.
Dessert was key lime pie. I found fresh key limes at the store and oh my god, those things are a pain in the ass to juice. They’re slippery and small and they pop out of my hands and go flying across the kitchn. All the little papercuts I didn’t know I had on my hands start to burn. But the results were worth it, I suppose.
Also on the menu was this recipe for grilled garlicky clam pizza. I wanted to do something other than just clam chowder with the clams we dug recently in Ninilchik. Chowder’s alright and all, but the clams kinda get lost in it and I was looking for something to make them more of the focus of the dish. And because my husband doesn’t care for clams, I was anxious to eat them with a crowd that would appreciate them, especially considering how much work it was to dig them. It would pain me to feed my clams to someone who would rather turn their nose up at them!
It turned out good! So good, in fact, that after we polished the whole thing off, I immediately wanted to grill a second pizza.
I made a couple of changes to the recipe just based on what I had in the fridge. Plus, the original recipe called for small clams still in the shell, so I had to change up the cooking process to account for my already out-of-the-shell clams. And rather than make the pizza dough in the recipe, I used the ball of pizza dough Angie was kind enough to leave in my freezer the last time we got together for a pizza party. Pizza dough is one of those things I need to master the making of. Anything with yeast makes me nervous. My dough never seems to rise. Perhaps my goal this summer should be to master leavened breads.
If only our watercolor paintings had turned out as good as that pizza. We snickered alot over how bad they turned out, except for Seth’s which turned out the best. Going it on our own was a little more challenging than working under the watchful eye of a good teacher. His is the second from the left. He quietly painted in the corner, not following any of the directions I passed on from the workshop, then he washed his brushes and plopped down on the couch to do some redditting on his cellphone, as if to say, “What? Like painting is hard? Pshaw.”
Luckily they got to go on a long walk after the party.
Here’s my version of the recipe for that pizza.
Grilled Garlicky Clam Pizza
1/3 cup chopped shallots
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups of so of chopped razor clams
1/2 cup or so of feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup or more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
Preheat grill to high. Add a splash of olive oil to a skillet. Add shallots and garlic and saute a few minutes. Stir in wine and chopped clams. Saute until clams turn white and are just done but don’t over cook. Remove clams to a bowl. If you’d like you can reserve cooking liquid for another use — some chowder maybe!
Place pizza dough, cornmeal side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes or until blistered. Turn dough over; grill 3 minutes. Remove from grill. Spread clam mixture and feta crumbles evenly over top side of crust, then top with cheese and herbs. Return pizza to grill rack; grill 4 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Remove from grill, cut into wedges and serve with some more of that white wine.