Apizza The Action

All apizza is pizza, but few pizzas are true apizzas- And no, that’s not a typo. Pronounced “ah-beets,” this very specific, exclusive subset of flat breads is more American than Italian by birth, not to mention an infant compared to the long-standing domination of their red sauced brethren. Leave your pepperoni in the fridge; clams are the crowning jewels on this East Coast treasure.

Clam apizza can be traced directly to Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, Connecticut. Growing up in the tri-state area, this was the only choice when ordering pizza from a parlor. Nothing else could even remotely compare to homemade, lovingly made as a family effort on special occasions. To get your hands on Pepe’s pizza, it took almost as much effort. Place an order later than 5pm and you’d be out of luck for same day service.

What Is Clam Apizza?

Invented in the 1960s, this unconventional pairing of cheese and seafood defied all common wisdom. Littleneck clams fresh off the boat from the Rhode Island coast moved from appetizer to entree when they found a place of honor atop this white pie. Peppery olive oil soaks into every crevasse for a lusciously rich bite, accentuating the blend of gooey melted mozzarella and sharp Parmesan shavings. Garlic factors prominently along with a classic palate of oregano and crushed red pepper flakes for seasoning.

Apizza crust shares similarities with Neapolitan pizzas, but is more substantial, charred on the bottom, and crisp on the outside. This is largely a function of using brick ovens to seal the deal, pumping out face-melting temperatures that could incinerate raw dough in seconds. While home ovens can’t get nearly so hot, we have other tricks for making apizza that beats the rest.

What Makes This The Best Clam Apizza Recipe

Leave the littlenecks in the sea for this round. Thick, meaty Sugimoto donko shiitake have already proven their keep as decadent baked clams, after all. Sprinkling those briny morsels into an ocean of melted vegan cheese is a no-brainer. Juicy and succulent following a trip through the oven, shiitake easily have the edge over seafood because you can’t possibly overcook them here. They remain moist, flavorful, and delightfully chewy while the dough beneath them browns and the cheese bubbles.

Speaking of dough, this one deserves an extra shout-out as my favorite version to date. It stretches and rolls like a dream, walking the fine line between toothsome and crisp when baked, and is infused with umami through and through. Shiitake mushroom powder, my favorite flavor enhancer, works its magic to make a pizza crust that’s worth eating alone. No one would dare leave these bones behind.

More Ways To Top Your Apizza

Simplicity is king for this straightforward pie, allowing the delicate umami flavors from the shiitake and Parmesan cheese to shine through at full volume. Additional garnishes should be applied sparingly, if at all, to maintain that harmonious balance. Just a sprinkle of the following will do:

  • Sliced black olives
  • Capers
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Finely chopped broccoli rabe
  • Vegan bacon
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Lemon Zest

It doesn’t take much to make great clam apizza. Quality is everything, so make it count. Sugimoto shiitake are the only ones I want on my slice.

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

New Haven-Style White Clam Apizza

New Haven-Style White Clam Apizza

When you're craving apizza, don't settle for any old pizza. This vegan white clam pie is inspired by Frank Pepe's classic New Haven-style creation, swapping seafood for shiitake mushrooms.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


Pizza Dough:

  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
  • 1 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Shiitake Powder (Optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Pizza Toppings:

  • 1 Cup Soaked Donko Shiitake Mushrooms, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Caper Brine
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Vegan Mozzarella
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Shaved Vegan Parmesan
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • Flaky Sea Salt, To Taste


  1. Place the warm water, brown sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix lightly to combine and allow about 10 minutes for the yeast to reawaken and become frothy.

  2. Incorporate the oil before adding the flour, shiitake powder (if using,) and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine. Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead for about 10 minutes, or by hand for closer to 15, until the dough is smooth and elastic, but still slightly sticky.

  3. Transfer to a clean bowl and lightly grease. Cover, place in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until doubled in volume; 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, combine the chopped shiitake and caper brine in a small bowl. Let marinate in the fridge until ready to use.

  5. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and lightly grease a pizza stone or sheet pan.

  6. Once risen, begin stretching the dough by hand, letting gravity do most of the work in slowly, gently pulling it into a thin, flat round. Place it on your prepared sheet and continue pressing it out thinner and thinner, until it's about 14-inches in diameter. If it begins to fight you and starts shrinking back before you reach the full size, let it rest for 15 minutes before giving it a final pull.

  7. Drizzle the crust with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spreading it over the entire surface. Sprinkle evenly with minced garlic, followed by mozzarella, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Distribute the marinated shiitake on top.

  8. Bake on the lower oven rack for 10 - 14 minutes, until the crust is blistered on the bottom, golden brown on top, and the cheese is melted.

  9. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, Parmesan, parsley, and salt, to taste. Slice and serve hot!


To make this recipe easier, you can use prepared pizza dough instead of making your own from scratch.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with SUGIMOTO Co. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

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