Fried Clams Recipe For National Fried Clams Day - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Fried Clams Recipe For National Fried Clams Day
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RECIPE: Make Fried Clams For National Deep Fried Clams Day

November 1st is National Fried Clams Day.

Fried clams is a dish that we always eat at restaurants, because cleaning, shucking and deep fat frying is a lot of work.

It’s especially more so because a recipe like the following yields just 12 fried clams. That’s enough for one hearty eater.

But if you’re game, here’s a recipe from an authentic Down Easter, Tim Connolly of Freeport, Maine.

The recipe is courtesy of Taste Of Home magazine.

One thing about eastern-style fried clams is that they’re made with the whole claim, and a cornmeal-based batter. Plus:

  • Clam belly. They’re made with clam belly, the most tender part of the clam (the soft, round center of the clam).
  • Clam strip. A clam strip, a cheaper cut, is usually a sliced-up surf clam. It is the type used in frozen fried clams (a 6″ surf clam can weigh 2 pounds!). The surf clam is too tough to be eaten raw, so it is sold breaded and frozen, canned, used for sauces and chowders.
  • Clam strips were first developed as a food source in the 1950s, for Howard Johnson’s (the scoop).
  • Clam neck. The neck is the chewy part that protrudes outside of the clam. To cook it (or eat raw clams), slip off the outer skin (membrane) and discard.

    You can fry the clams in an electric skillet, a deep-fat fryer, or other pot you use for frying.

    The recipes for cocktail sauce and tartar sauce are in the footnotes below.


  • 1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, divided
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, divided
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 12 fresh cherrystone clams, shucked
  • Canola or peanut oil for deep-fat frying*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnish: fresh parsley
  • For serving: lemon wedges, tartar sauce†, seafood cocktail sauce‡, ketchup

    1. COMBINE 3/4 cup cornmeal and 1/4 cup flour with the water in a shallow bowl, forming a batter. In another bowl, combine the remaining cornmeal and flour.

    2. DIP the clams in the batter and shake off the excess. Coat with the cornmeal mixture.

    3. HEAT the oil to 375°F. Fry the clams, a few at a time, for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.


    [1] Fried cherrystone clams. The recipe is below (photo © Taste Of Home).

    [2] Fried Ipswich clams (photo © Arch Rock Fish [permanently closed]).

    [3] Serve the clams with tartar sauce (above), cocktail sauce, ketchup, or simply fresh lemon wedges: The choice is yours. The recipes for tartar and cocktail sauces are in the footnotes below (photo © Taste Of Home).

    4. SERVE immediately with lemon and sauce(s)—recipes below in footnotes. While frozen fried clams need some added flavor, fresh fried clams don’t need a dipping sauce. A lemon wedge will do.


    *Canola oil and peanut oil are ideal for deep frying, because of their high smoke points

    †Tartar sauce recipe: Combine 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Optionally add capers and finely minced shallot or chives, and more pickle relish to taste. You can substitute 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard for the sour cream.

    ‡Cocktail sauce recipe: Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons horseradish, juice from 1 lemon wedge, several dashes of Worcestershire sauce and optional hot sauce to taste.


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