Clam Fritters

Episode 116: Shell-ebration
Recipe: Clam Fritters

The little touch of tarragon gives these fritters a delicious, different taste. The fritters are drained on a wire rack rather than on paper towels, the conventional procedure, because they tend to become soft on the bottom when placed on towels.

Clam Fritters

Serves 4 as an hors d’oeuvres (makes about 16 fritters)

1 cup shelled clams, preferably large quahog or chowder clams (about 12), plus 3 tablespoons reserved clam juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
1 large garlic clove, crushed and chopped (1 1/2 teaspoons)
4–5 scallions, trimmed (leaving some green) and minced (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
About 3 cups safflower oil, for deep-frying

Using scissors, cut the clams into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, egg, and half the clam juice in a bowl, mixing until you have a smooth batter. Add the clams, the remaining clam juice, the garlic, scallions, tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and mix well.

Pour enough oil into a saucepan so that it is about 2 inches deep and heat the oil to 375 degrees. Drop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil for each fritter (cook about 8 fritters at a time) and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, moving the fritters occasionally, until they are browned well on all sides. Lift the fritters from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a rack.

Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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