Seafood of the Week – Fried Clams

July 1, 2014 at 5:34 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Fried clams piled high

Fried clams piled high

Fried clams are made by deep frying clams that have been dipped in milk and then flour.

Fried clams are an iconic food, “to New England what barbecue is to the South”. They tend to be served at seaside clam shacks (roadside restaurants). For a lighter meal, a clam roll is made by piling clams into a hot dog bun. Tartar sauce is the usual condiment.



The clams are dipped in evaporated milk, and coated with a combination of regular, corn, and/or pastry flour. Then the coated clams are fried in canola oil or soybean oil, or lard. They can be “clam strips” (sliced parts of hard-shell clams) or “clams with bellies” (whole soft-shell clams). Clams with bellies have the clam’s gastrointestinal tract left intact and impart a fuller flavor. However, some restaurants remove the clam’s chewy siphon, called the neck.



Fried clams have been served since at least 1865, and most likely earlier, as they have been found on an 1865 menu from the Parker House hotel restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. It is not known if the clams were deep fried or if they were batter dipped. The same 1865 menu offers “oysters fried” and “oysters fried in batter”.

Legend has it that the modern deep-fried, breaded version was credited to Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman from Essex, Massachusetts. He is said to have created the first batch on July 3, 1916, in his small roadside restaurant, now Woodman’s of Essex. One of his specialties was homemade potato chips, so he had large vats for deep-frying foods. He used the clams, which he had collected himself from the mud flats of the Essex River located close to his home.

Later, Thomas Soffron, of Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, created clam strips, which are made from the “foot” of hard-shelled sea clams. He sold these to Howard Johnson’s in an exclusive deal, and as the chain expanded, they became popular throughout the country.



Clams in themselves are low in cholesterol and fat, but fried clams absorb cooking fat.


Here’s just one of many Fried Clams Recipe
Fried Clams




1 1/2 lbs. large shucked clams
2 cups corn flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each onion and garlic powder
1 tbsp. fine yellow corn meal (optional)
1 can evaporated milk
1 egg yolk
oil for frying



1 -Stir together the corn flour, salt, onion and garlic powder and yellow corn
meal until very well mixed. Divide the mixture in two shallow pans.
In another shallow pan, whisk together milk and egg yolk until well

2 – Dredge the whole clams in the first pan of corn flour mixture, then dip
them in the milk mixture. Toss the clams in the second pan of corn flour
mixture, then fry in 365°F oil until the clams are a golden color, turning
once. Remove from fryer and toss on clean absorbent paper. Season
lightly with salt and serve immediately. Do not overload the fryer with too
many clams if it has a low capacity or the oil temperature will be dropped
causing the clams to absorb more oil.

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