You can’t come to Cape Cod and leave without having some fried clams. You can get fried clam strips, or you can go for the whole-belly clams, which are fried steamers. They have much more flavor than clam strips, so I always go for whole-belly. This past weekend I went out and dug 2 dozen steamers, and figured I’d put together a beer batter and fry them up.
Fried Whole Belly Clams (Serves 4 as an appetizer)
- 2 dozen fresh steamers, cooked and shucked (see this post for details)
- oil for frying (I used corn oil)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1 can of beer (I usually use a light beer such as Coors or Bud Light)
- Salt and pepper
- Tartar Sauce (jarred, or you can make your own…I will explain how)
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal and season with salt and pepper. Add beer and mix until it is the consistency of pancake batter.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet or pot until a drop of batter sizzles and bubbles when added to the oil.
In batches, if necessary, dunk the clams into the batter and coat well, and fry the clams until golden brown, turning them over if necessary, about 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with tartar sauce.
To make your own tartar sauce, combine 1 cup of mayo, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of chopped pickles or gherkins. Katherine made the tartar sauce for these clams this weekend, and she added fresh dill, which was a great finishing touch.