Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maine Clamcakes (and still 11 days/recipes to go)

Having spent a few days at the coast last week, walking the beach, smelling fried foods and seafood, my brain put all those together and turned it into . . . clamcakes. Like the kind you get at Ken's, or the Clambake, at Pine Point (Maine)? Or a bit further down the coast, in Kennebunk or Kennebunkport . . . there are some great seafood places there that I remember only too well.

So, I decided it was time to see if I could create a reasonable facsimile of Maine clamcakes. I went online and found half a dozen recipes, tried to figure out what the 'average' of those would be, and went to work in the kitchen. I was really happy with the result (but not the mess I had to clean up -- always hate cleaning up after deep-frying).

About the only changes I made were using only egg-whites instead of whole eggs, GF flour blend obviously, and instead of half clam-juice and half milk for the liquid, I used just clam-juice.

Amounts are approximate, as I was testing as I went along and didn't keep track exactly, so if batter is too thick, add more clam juice, and if too thin, obviously add a touch more flour. But here's the pretty-close recipe, which makes six or seven 4" clamcakes:

While vegetable oil for deep-frying is heating (an inch is plenty -- you turn these halfway through cooking), in a large bowl mix 2 egg-whites, 3/4 cp. drained minced clams (or whole baby clams, also tinned), 1/4 cp. of the clam juice from the tin, 1 cp. GF flour blend, 2 tsp. baking powder, and a dash of salt. This needs to be thick enough to barely handle (in other words, not as solid as a hamburger-patty, but so it doesn't fall through your fingers).

Before frying, they need to be coated in cornmeal (yellow or white). I found that the easiest way to do this was to spread a layer of cornmeal on a plate, spoon the clamcake mixture onto the cornmeal, then sprinkle more cornmeal over the cakes, then carefully pick them up and slide them into the hot oil using a slotted metal spatula. You don't want them more than 1/2" thick.

Fry about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness (turn when brown on the bottom). Drain on paper towels, and enjoy with ketchup or tartar sauce.

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