Razor Clam Fritters & Wasabi Slaw: Fusion Comfort

Something tried-and-true, something new: clam fritters and wasabi slaw – fusion comfort food.

My dad gave me two pieces of advice which have stood the test of time – 1) Take the stairs whenever you can, and take them two-at-a-time, and 2) eat as much fried food as you can when you’re young, because at some point you won’t be able to.

Clam fritters are so easy, I’m not sure why I don’t make them more often. Although I made these with razor clams, in South Carolina I made them out of the whelks I’d find, and at other times I’ve made them out of canned clams. The slaw is comprised of fairly standard ingredients – mayonnaise (homemade), pickle juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, carrots and cabbage – and given a kick with two teaspoons of powdered wasabi.

The fritters are adapted from Craig Claiborne’s recipe as it appears in The New York Times Cook Book, with the only difference being my substitution of dried tarragon and basil, which I have, for fresh parsley, which I do not have.

Clam Fritters: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped clams
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon (or substitute dry tarragon or marjoram)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup clam juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • couple dashes cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Directions

  1. Chop clams on a cutting board. Not too fine. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the egg, lemon juice, tarragon, baking soda and flour and stir.
  3. Blend the clam juice and milk. Add gradually to the clam mixture, stirring continuously. Do not make the batter too runny.
  4. Stir in the butter, cayenne and black pepper.
  5. Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in a frying pan.
  6. Drop batter in the hot oil – about 2 tablespoons per fritter. (They’ll cook better if they’re fairly small.)
  7. Turn when the bottom is browned, as you would for pancakes.

We served these with salmon sauce. Tarter sauce, shrimp sauce, or a squeeze of lemon works well, too. These seemed to beg for an amber ale. (Or maybe it’s Barbra and me doing the begging after nine months of living in a dry village!) Enjoy!