You may call them clam fritters or you may call them clam cakes. You might enjoy eating them by themselves, or you might love to have them alongside a steaming hot bowl of chowder. There’s one thing you’ve probably never called nor prepared them before – homemade. It is our goal in writing this article to teach you the fundamentals of how to make clam cakes so that you can soon be enjoying these delicious seafood treats in the comfort of your own home any time of the year.
First off, we need to talk ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 20 Cherrystone clams
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of melted butter
- 3/4 cup of clam juice
- 1.5 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 3 finely chopped scallions
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 4 finely chopped shiitake mushroom caps
- salt, to taste
- vegetable oil for frying
Pictured below is the array of ingredients you’ll need to pull this recipe off:
Now that you have your ingredients together, it’s time to get into the specifics of what you need to do to transform this broad assortment of items into a salty, satisfying clam fritter. While you can use pre-chopped clams if you wish, lovers of whole belly clams who really want a strong clam flavor will prefer to use the 20 whole clams as described in the ingredients list.
While we gave instructions on how to shuck clams in a previous article, you can also do an alternate method if you’re not good with knives. You can do a little cheat by way of boiling the clams in hot water just long enough for them to open up. When you’ve achieved this, strip the clams out of the shells and cut them with a set of sharp kitchen scissors until they are in small chunks as seen below.
Once you have your clams ready, it’s time to get started on the batter. The first part you’ll want to prepare will be the vegetables. Wash your garlic, scallions, and mushrooms well. After this, lay the scallions out lengthwise and cut them into small pieces. When it comes to chopping the garlic, the angle isn’t all that important – just cut it however you want, as long as the result is finely minced pieces. When you get ready to cut the mushrooms, remove the stems – this recipe only uses the caps of the shiitake mushrooms. Once the caps are removed, slice them lengthwise and then across until they’ve been cut up into mini-cube form. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture of this step, so you’ll just have to imagine it. In the meantime, enjoy this soothing picture of shiitake mushrooms growing in the wild, courtesy of VeggieGardeningTips.com
Now your vegetables are chopped and you’re ready to start on the batter. Start by getting a small mixing bowl and add in the olive oil along with an egg. Stir the two together until the yolk breaks up and blends into the liquid. After this, pour the baking soda into the same bowl and mix it all together until smooth.
In another mixing bowl, pour in the flour, clam juice and melted butter together. After this, pour in the egg, olive oil, and baking powder solution and mix well. After this has been achieved, slide in the scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and clams. Here’s what you should be seeing at this point (with one exception that we’ll soon get to):
As you can see, the batter is mixed together well, but still has too much of a liquid consistency. You can’t make a fritter out of that. Sometimes the recommended amount of flour won’t be quite enough. Add more flour in 1/4 cup increments and mix it in. Keep doing this until you have a paste-like consistency. When you’ve successfully done this, reach into the mixture and take out small handfulls and work them into small sphere-like shapes. The shape and size aren’t horribly important – you just want to make sure they’re solid enough to stick together when fried.
When you have your fritters formed, it’s time for the frying stage of things. Get a medium sized frying pan and add into it 2 inches of the oil of your choice. (Canola oil was used in this specific recipe.) You won’t be able to fit all of your fitters into the pan at once. When you put the first ones into the frying pan, the oil won’t be too hot, but this will change soon. After about 4-5 minutes of frying, turn your fritters over with a spatula or large spoon. Be VERY careful as the oil will be hot and you don’t want to burn yourself. You also don’t want to start a grease fire by getting oil all over your burners.
After you’ve flipped your fritters over, fry for another 4-5 minutes and check to see how they look. Once they’re golden brown on both sides, they’re all done and are ready to be taken out of the frying pan. Use a set of tongs to do this. This will make it a lot easier to avoid being burned by the oil and will also lessen the chances of your fritters breaking up as they are removed.
Once you have your beautiful golden brown clam fritters cooked to perfection, remove them with tongs as described above. Prior to doing this, get a plate ready and place a sheet of paper towels over it. This will be the landing destination for your fritters once you’ve dropped them from the tongs. This is where they will sit to cool down. The paper towels will help to soak up excess grease, which will be effective in making your clam fritters more healthy.
After you’ve waited around ten minutes, your clam fritters should be cool enough to eat. You can garnish them in just about any way you want, but some of the most popular choices are lemon wedges, a pinch of additional salt, a hot sauce of your choosing, or tartar sauce. There’s really no wrong method once you get to this point, it’s all up to individual taste.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on how to make clam fritters at home and hope that you’ll be using our advice in the near future. We’re always here and ready with the best clams in CT, so stop on by and pick up your fritter supplies.