Crispy golden fried clams are crunchy, chewy and a little bit briny -- all in one bite. Great with homemade tartar sauce and fries.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword clams, seafood, shellfish
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Soaking The Clams 20minutes
Total Time 40minutes
FOR FRIED CLAMS
72whole belly clams in their shell(aka: steamers, Maine clams or Ipswich clams) (about 18 clams per person)
1cupcorn flour(also sold as fish fry or use fine ground cornmeal)
1cupall purpose flour
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
1teaspoonsaltplus more to season after frying
1 cup milk
FOR TARTAR SAUCE
2tablespoonsfinely chopped dill pickle
1teaspoonwhole grain Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoonslemon juice
3/4teaspoonchopped fresh dill
1/4teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoonkosher salt
peanut oil for frying
tartar sauce(recipe given)
MAKE THE SIMPLE TARTAR SAUCE
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients and whisk together. Cover and refrigerate.
SHUCK THE IPSWICH CLAMS
We tried several methods to shuck the clams and by far, this was the easiest for us....
Place the clams in a large bowl and rinse them several times with cold water to wash away the grit and sand on their shells. Cover the clams with fresh cold water and let them sit for 20 minutes so that they can expunge any excess grit in their siphons.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drain the clams and add them to the pot. Blanch the clams for 20 seconds, then immediately drain the water off of them. Transfer the clams to a fresh bowl filled with cold water to stop the cooking.
Pry the shell open with your fingers (this would be impossible to do if you didn't blanch them first.) Remove the clam and locate the black protruding neck (actually a siphon that they use to filter their food).
Go to the base of the "neck" and pull the outer layer or membrane from the clam and discard. Cut the tip of the black siphon off and discard. Transfer the shucked clam (this includes the neck, belly and strip) to a bowl of fresh water. Continue to shuck the clams in this fashion.
Change the water several times to make sure the grit has been removed from the clams and set aside.
MAKE THE FRY BLEND:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn flour (or fine cornmeal), salt and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Use another medium bowl to combine the milk, buttermilk and egg with a whisk until well blended.
FRYING THE CLAMS:
Heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil in a deep fryer to 375°. Line a baking sheet with craft paper, newspaper or brown paper bags to soak up the oil.
Dip the clams into the egg mixture and then toss them individually in the corn flour blend to coat.
Fry the clams in batches with no more than 8-10 clams per batch. Cook each batch for 1-2 minutes or until the clams are crispy and golden. Using a spider, transfer the clams to the paper lined baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt. Continue frying and seasoning the clams in this manner.
TO SERVE THE FRIED WHOLE BELLY CLAMS:
Serve the clams with simple tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon. Most New England clam shacks also serve them with french fries... I used a frozen bag of Alexia fries and crisped them in a convection oven... worked great!