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Clam, Bacon and Piquillo-Pepper Coca

It's a flatbread ... it's a pizza ... no, it's a coca! This Spanish specialty of yeast dough topped with clams, bacon and piquillo peppers will have everyone clamoring for "mas."

 

Joseph De Leo for "Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night" (Atria Books)

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Published: 3/31/2010 12:00 AM

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3 dozen cherrystone or other small hard-shelled clams, such as Manila clams, scrubbed

Olive oil

Coarse yellow cornmeal

1 pound store-bought pizza dough

¾ pound sliced bacon

6 piquillo peppers (about half of a 10-ounce jar), torn into roughly 1-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pour enough water into a large, heavy pot to cover the bottom generously. Bring to a boil, add the clams, and cover the pot. Steam just until the clams open, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the clams, and discard the juice (or reserve for another use). As soon as the clams are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and discard the shells.

While the clams are cooling, grease a jellyroll pan or other large baking pan with olive oil and sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal over the oil. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 12 by 14 inches, and lay on the baking sheet. Poke the whole surface of the dough with a fork at ½-inch intervals.

Line a plate with paper towels. Cook the bacon in a skillet or microwave until lightly browned and somewhat crisp. Don't cook until all of the fat is rendered or the bacon is completely cooked; the remaining fat will flavor the dough, and the bacon will finish crisping in the oven. Drain on the prepared plate, and cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces.

Cover the top of the dough with the clams, bacon and peppers, spacing them all more or less evenly and leaving a ½-inch border of plain dough. Scatter the garlic over the toppings. Dot any open dough with rounded tablespoonfuls of ricotta.

Bake until the dough is a deep golden brown around the edges and puffed, and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then slide from the baking sheet onto a cutting board. Cut into pieces.

Serves 30 as hors d'oeuvres; six as a main course.

"Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night" by Daisy Martinez (2010 Atria Books)