Saturday, September 28, 2013

Clam Fritters

I found this recipe several weeks ago while searching for dishes that would allow me to use the large cans of chopped clams found in warehouse stores. It was originally developed by Craig Claiborne, a prolific food writer and editor at The New York Times. He called the recipe Bonacker-Style Clam Fritters and considered it to be a perfect example of authentic American cooking. Bonacker is the name given to natives of the East Hampton, Long Island. Fortunately, this dish had been featured at and I was able to retrieve the original recipe from their files. I wanted to make the dish as it was written, the only substitution being the use of canned for fresh clams. The most difficult part of this exercise was determining how much meat would actually be harvested from 4 dozen cherrystone clams. Available search engines failed me, so I splashed water on my face, put on some lipstick and went for a chat with my guys at the fish market. Based on the assumption that all the cherrystones were the same middling size, the guys were certain - certain mind you - that I'd need 2-1/2 cups of chopped canned meat to equal the amount that I'd get from freshly shucked clams. It, of course, took another 20 minutes to explain why I was going through the exercise in the first place and by the time I left the market I wasn't quite sure why myself. At any rate, I made it home and we had great fritters for dinner. These are less doughy than most I've had and I really enjoyed them. I think you might too. Here's the recipe.

Clam Fritters (Bonacker-Style Clam Fritters)...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Craig Claiborne and Saveur


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄3 cup clam juice

1⁄4 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pinch cayenne

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2-1/2 cups coarsely chopped, drained clams

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil


1) Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs, lemon juice, clam juice, milk, butter, and cayenne, whisking until batter is smooth. Add parsley and clams, then season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

2) Add vegetable oil to a heavy skillet, to a depth of 1⁄8-inch, and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, spoon about 2 tablespoons of clam batter for each fritter into hot oil. (Work in batches and avoid crowding pan.) Fry until golden on one side, then turn fritters and continue frying about 2 minutes more. Make sure fritters are cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 16 fritters.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Linguine and Clams with Garlic White Wine Sauce - The Red Spoon

Cuban Clam Fritters with Cilantro Mayo - Lazaro Cooks

Spaghetti Frutti di Mare - Cooking-Gallery

Clams and Mussels in Tomato Broth - Mangiandobene

Clams with Green Peppers Tomatoes and Wine - My Mediterranean Diet

Karin's Curried Clam Pie - Pithy and Cleaver

Italian White or Red Seafood Chowder - What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine

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