Homemade fried clams

I live in the Midwest and I'm really craving fried clams (you can take the girl out of New England but...) and our local paper did a story about getting good fried clams here that basically ended with "don't bother. It will just make you sad." Is there any chance I can make them at home? We can get clams here, I'm just not sure they're the right kind, if it matters, how to properly clean them for this little project, etc. The recipes I found on google weren't that helpful. Any thoughts would be great (even if the consensus is "don't bother. It will only make you sad.")!



Pegeen June 15, 2013
MTMitchell, great to have a turkey fryer for outdoor cooking. btw, preferring clam strips without bellies is no cause for shame. And as mentioned above, without bellies, will widen your supply sources. I ate so many clam bellies full of sand for so many years, I went off them. In any case, enjoy your clams if you can get them. I agree with David Leite's blog post not to use spices in the batter.
Pegeen June 15, 2013
A nursing friend once flew lobsters from Boston to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a very sick patient from New England who was desperately craving fresh lobster. They raced the still-frisky lobsters in the hospital hallway first for the patient's fun. Then steamed them in an autoclave. Butter and lemon from the cafeteria.
MTMitchell June 15, 2013
I'm from CT, too (love Johnny Ad's), and my husband is from Maine. We're going out east in August and I will be consuming my weight in whole bellies (you're right, Chris -- that's really what I miss!). That link was really helpful, though, and we do have a good fish market around here, and an outdoor frying set up (also known as a turkey fryer....)...I might see what kind of clams I can get and use the link to make strip equivalents. Might at least stave off the craving until August!
TobiT June 14, 2013
This thread got me revved up for my annual Cape Cod trip. I live in MN, and have never found anything closely resembling a true fried clam - or steamer for that matter. Sigh.
Greenstuff June 14, 2013
You know, it's a good thing that some things are still regional.

That David Leite link was hopeful, but note that his source of clams with bellies had dried up. His were frozen; live, and even frozen, they don't travel so well. The East Coast steamer clam, the one with bellies, Mya arenaria, exists as an exotic species where I live in California but not in enough numbers, so I have to wait for trips East for fried clams.

Clam strips--fried slices of sea clams, not the whole animal, you can probably get. If you're old enough to remember Howard Johnson's, fried clam strips was one of their specialties, and they served them nation-wide. But if you're a real New Englander, I'm guess it's the bellies you miss.
Pegeen June 14, 2013
As HalfPint's link mentions, the freshness of the clams is key. I wish I could tell you how to get them but I'm blessed with a great local seafood store so have never had to order online.
If you don't want to smell up the house when frying, this is a handy alternative - using a propane camping stove outside.
HalfPint June 14, 2013
I hear ya (CT transplant living in CA). I haven't tried this recipe, but it's from David Leite and he's never steered me wrong,
ZombieCupcake June 14, 2013
Well if you are ever in Omaha we have a seafood that ALMOST makes them as good as the east coast (this boy is from East Hampton) but no bellies on them.
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