Recipe courtesy of Comet Ping Pong

"The Softie" Soft-Shell Crab Pizza

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: Two 8-inch pizzas



Special equipment:
a pizza stone
  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat; add 1/4 cup olive oil. Place the leeks in the pan and cook slowly, stirring to prevent browning, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1 1/4 cups olive oil to a simmer in a small saucepot; add the garlic. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is soft but still white, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature with a pizza stone inside; at least 450 degrees F.
  4. Once the dough is at room temperature, it should be soft and pliable and shouldn't shrink back when you press it. Flatten a ball into a disc. (It is okay if the flattened disc isn't perfectly round at this point.) Place disc on a well-floured work surface and stretch the dough by hand into an 8- to 9-inch round that is 1/4-inch-thick, not pressing out the air bubbles. Place on a pizza peel or dry cutting board layered with a sprinkle of semolina flour.
  5. To assemble the pizza, spread the garlic oil evenly over the dough with a 1-ounce ladle. Add 3/4 cup leeks over the garlic oil and spread evenly. Place a soft-shell crab in the center of the pizza. Transfer the pizza to the oven using a smooth, quick motion to slide the pizza from the peel or cutting board to the stone. Bake until crust is browned evenly, crab is crispy and juices are bubbling, 9 to 16 minutes. Remove from the stone with a pizza peel. Cut into slices and garnish with a sprinkle of seafood seasoning, fresh shaved Parmesan and parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 1 more pizza. Enjoy.

Cook’s Note

Clean leeks by slicing in half lengthwise, then cutting crosswise. Put in a colander set in a big bowl of cool water. Swish leeks, then change the water to remove sand and dirt. Clean a soft-shell crab by holding the crab in one hand and cutting off the front of the face, about 1/4 inch behind the eyes and mouth, using a pair of kitchen shears. Squeeze out the contents of the sack located directly behind the cut you just made. Lift a pointed end of the crab's outer shell; with fingers or scissors remove and discard the gills. Repeat the process for the other side. Turn the crab over and snip off the small flap called the apron. Pat dry. If pizza dough is in plastic from the grocery store or freezer, take it out and move it to an oiled mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place for at least 30 minutes. If you're working with homemade pizza dough made the same day, you'll be starting this step after the first 1 to 1 1/2-hour rise time. When assembling the pizza, it is a good idea to lay out a thin layer of semolina flour underneath it. This will reduce the chances of the pizza sticking to the assembly surface, and will make the transfer from the surface to the oven very easy.