I suppose you could use other clams (why not?) but razor clams are dug near where I live on North Beach so alas, woe is I, it is what I have. These were better than dessert and I have Steve, a newly acquired (I hope) fisher-friend from Cedar, BC to thank for giving me permission to eat dessert before the rest of my dinner.
He read a book that explains if you want to avoid that “full to busting” feeling you get after eating a huge meal and then topping it off with an even huger piece of Double Chocolate Torte you should have your cake and eat it first. Sugar will pass right through you whereas protein takes hours to digest. Problem solved. Eat your cake (or in this case your razor clams) first, then the rest will follow. I wish I had known this when I was a kid being told, “Eat your Brussels sprouts or you won’t get any dessert.”
1 quart (1 L) jar of canned razor clams (or reasonable facsimiles)
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ cups (190 mL) (approximate) rice flour for coating the clams, or regular flour (but I think the rice flour is what makes them so light)
1 egg, beaten
1½–2 cups (375–500 mL) panko bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying (peanut oil, first choice)
Serves 6 as an appetizer
What you do
1. Dip clams into r ice flour, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, coating evenly.
2. Dip floured clams into lightly beaten egg.
3. Roll egg-coated clams into panko bread crumbs and shake off any excess
4. Here is the secret for making an as-close-to-perfection-as-it-gets clam fritter. After rolling in panko and before you fry in oil, always put battered clams in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. They can be made ahead and frozen for up to a week before frying. When the panko gets frozen to the egg wash, it sticks like cement and the crumbs never fall off and the results are, tah-dah! (Nothing, however, like cement.)
5. Heat a fair amount of peanut oil or other vegetable oil, to 375°F (190°C). (Use a candy/deep-frying thermometer unless you have an affinity with hot oil and can tell, by looking at it, that it is ready). Fry clams for 1 minute or less. Razors will toughen if overcooked. You want the clams to be perfectly cooked the moment the panko crumbs start to turn golden.
6. Serve with tartar sauce (my favourite at the moment is Alder Smoked Walla Walla Onion Tartar Sauce from the Pike Place Market in Seattle) or a dipping sauce made of mayonnaise, lime juice, sesame oil and sweet chili sauce.
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