Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cheap$kate Clam Cakes

As the days get colder, I have a recipe you will surely want to try, my Cheap$kate Clam Cakes. While the clams I use are not from the Chesapeake Bay, this New England inspired recipe is the right price when you can get a cheap can of chopped clams from almost any grocery store.

My Clam Cake recipe makes fluffy doughnut-like orbs. They are tender on the inside, but crunchy on the outside. There's a reason for it's popularity on the East Coast - they're frigging delicious.

Clam Cakes aren't luscious like Crab Cakes, because this is real cheap working class food. But, I think you will like them fine.

Canned clams are surprisingly tender and the broth they are stored in is pungent and flavorful. Don't discard it either, you can use it instead of water, when making the Clam Cake batter.

The other batter ingredients are inexpensive, just flour, an egg and baking powder. You do need a couple cups of oil for deep frying, but it's reusable for other deep fried recipes, like Fish and Chips (Chips are French Fries) or Fried Chicken, and click on those names to see the recipes. You want the batter to be thick like pancake batter. The basic mixture is 2 to 1, that is, 1 cup of flour to 1/2 cup of clam broth/water.

I always find 99.99 cent cans of chopped clams at my local 99c only Store. Usually I make a pasta sauce with them, click here to see that recipe.

Clam Cakes should be eaten within a few minutes of coming out of the fryer, otherwise the cakes get soggy over time, especially if stored in the refrigerator. They will not taste better like cold pizza or fried chicken.

Clams from the can usually come chopped or minced. If too finely chopped cooked clams tend to dissolve into the batter. You may want to add twice as much clams if they are fine minced. And look for canned clam brands that chop their clams into larger pieces.

If you want to throw a Cheap$kate Clam Cake Party, just double or quadruple the recipe. And keep reading on for my Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe listed below. So fry up a plate of Chesapeake, I mean Cheap$kate Clam Cakes to try on a cold winter day.

Ingredients (makes about 8-12 Clam Cakes, depending on each size)
  • 5 to 6.5 ounce can of chopped clams
  • 1/2 cup water or clam juice  - the can of clams I used had a 1/2 cup of clam juice or brine, so I used that.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pepper and favorite seasoning - to taste, about a teaspoon total. I find the clam broth is salty enough. I used Cajun seasoning.
  • Enough cooking oil for frying. You can use a deep fryer, a deep frying pan, or pot.
  • Extra batter ingredients: a 1/4 onion fine chopped, and some garlic (1 clove minced, or a 1/2 teaspoon in powder form.)

Homemade Tartar Sauce
for Clam Cakes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise  
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish

Start heating the oil to about 375 degrees. I heat oil over a medium/high heat. It's hot enough when a small pinch of batter immediately bubbles and browns when added.

If you want round doughnut ball-shaped Clam Cakes, then it is best to use a pot with about 4 inches of oil (or use a deep fryer.) For flatter crab cake-style then less oil is needed, just an inch deep in a frying pan.

Into a large bowl, add the flour and season with black pepper and any favorite seasoning like Cajun or Old Bay, or just use plain salt. Sprinkle in baking powder and mix well.

Crack in one egg. Add the clams with the liquid. Mix well. The batter will be similar to lumpy pancake batter or cooked oatmeal.

The oil should be hot by now. Test the temperature with a small drop of batter. It should immediately bubble and float, browning quickly. Remove the batter piece.

Spoon in one large tablespoon of batter at a time, allow each Clam Cake to cook a few seconds before adding the next one, so they don't stick together.

Cooking time is about 3 minutes total. Turn the Clam Cakes as each side browns. You can double-check by breaking open one of the fried Clam Cakes to make sure the batter is cooked all the way through. It will be like the inside of a doughnut. Drain on a metal rack or paper towels.

You can serve them with any favorite sauce you like: ketchup, mustard, seafood cocktail sauce, hot sauce, or my Homemade Tartar Sauce. They are also tasty on their own.

If you like a lot of clams in each cake then add another can of drained clams to the mix (one can of clams has enough liquid.) This recipe is easy to double or triple for a Cheap$kate Clam Cake Party!


Arthur in the Garden! said...


Dinahsoar said...

Yum. Haven't had clam cakes in years. Always meant to try making them at home. May finally have to do it now.

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