Sunday, June 23, 2013

Frying a Better Razor Clam

Hubby would not be discouraged by previous unsuccessful clamming expeditions. And his perseverance finally paid off this spring.

It took him only an hour to reach the legal limit of 15 clams.

If I wasn’t so busy working on my next cookbook Marinades, I would’ve gone with him and bagged another 15 in no time at all.

The usual way to prepare razor clams is to coat them whole in breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs and then pan-fry them, like this. It’s quite delicious. But after trying it, I reasoned that deep-fried clams would be even more delicious. Clams have a tendency to be chewy no matter how expertly they’re cooked, and submerging them completely in hot fat would minimize the cooking time, thereby lessening any chance they’d get tough. Cutting the clams into strips would further ensure tenderness. But it would also expose a lot more surface area, and that much breading would have been heavy and overwhelmed the clam meat. Switching to a light flour coating would create a nice balance of clam to crust. Finally, adding a bit of cornstarch to the flour would make for a super-crisp coating. All that reasoning proved to be correct—the result was the best fried clams ever, even if I do say so myself.

But before I get to the recipe, Flavored Butters continues to get positive mentions in the press. I have to thank Food Republic for endorsing it and featuring the Caramelized Onion Butter, the Red Chile Butter, and the Caviar Butter. Thanks to Mommypage for the interview about the book and for featuring the Tarragon Butter. I’m ever so grateful to The Spokesman-Review for calling the book a “mouth-watering gem” and featuring the Bed & Breakfast Butter. And finally, thanks to Mother Earth Living for sharing the lessons on how to form a log of butter and how to shape compound butter and featuring the Gorgonzola-Chive Butter, the Radish Butter, and the Whipped Vanilla Bean Butter. I love that so many are getting on the butter bandwagon—it feels amazing!

Deep-Fried Razor Clam Strips with Buffalo Dipping Sauce
Printable Recipe

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Generous pinch celery seeds, ground
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
5 razor clams, cleaned, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 3/8-inch wide pieces

Blend together the mayonnaise, Tabasco, and Worcestershire in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, celery seed, cayenne, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper in a large, shallow dish. Add enough oil to a large, heavy pot to come to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 375°F. Meanwhile, add the clams to the flour mixture and toss to coat, separating any pieces that stick together. Shaking off any excess flour mixture, add the clams to the oil and fry, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a skimmer, remove to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season to taste with salt. Arrange the clams on individual plates and serve immediately with the buffalo dipping sauce.

Serves 2. When frying, be sure to use a pot that's large enough to accommodate the displacement of the oil from the clams and also the bubbling of the oil. Serve with Classic Coleslaw and corn on the cob or fries.


Nusrat Azim said...

How yum !
Man! I gotta try this right away !

Nichole said...

I clicked through to you from the great photo of the fried clams posted on Foodgawker. And then when I saw the first picture was a razor clam I about cried. ;) I missssssss the Pacific NW so much!! (Moved from Seattle to Phoenix - talk about culture shock.) Love LOVE all things from the sea. And I absolutely wish I were trudging along Hidden Beach up on Whidbey gathering 15 of these beauties so that I could try this recipe out. <3

Unknown said...

Trying this tonight!!
When looking for ideas what to do with these things the brought home from grandmas I couldn't find any that cut them into the little strips I love so much, and like you said, using crackers or panko seemed like would be overpowering for little pieces. I wonder though, does the slicing and shorter cooking time eliminate the need to tenderize them like all the other recipes call for? Might just try some both ways and see if can tell the difference ;)

Thanks again for the inspiration!
Cant wait for tonight's dinner!!

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

There’s really no need to tenderize the clams. With this technique, they cook way too fast to get chewy. Just be sure that your oil is at the proper temperature and you don’t overcrowd the pot.

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