Delicious clam cakes a little tricky to make


December 24, 2003|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Charles D. Allen of Reading, Vt., wrote that he wanted a recipe for clam cakes or clam balls. "I got hooked on them when I lived in Providence, R.I., and they were as popular as french fries or onion rings. They are fried balls of bread dough with minced clams in them. I can't find the recipe and would appreciate your help."

Blair Brennan Slaughter of Hunt Valley responded. She wrote: "I am a native Rhode Islander living in Maryland, so I had to respond to the request for clam cakes.

"When I first served my Maryland-native husband clam cakes he was appalled, as they are the antithesis of crab cakes. Clam cakes are mostly breading with a little clam; good crab cakes, as you know, are mostly crab with a little breading.

"Clam cakes are to be eaten as is [although some people like to dip them in cocktail sauce] and are served with a steaming bowl of Rhode Island clam chowder - clams, bacon, onion and potatoes in broth, without tomato ... or milk.

"I found this recipe in my grandmother's copy of the 1964 The Country Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Cross Mills Volunteer Fire Department, from [Rhode Island]. It looks just about right."

Clam Cakes

Makes about 20 small cakes

2 cups flour

pinch salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

2 dozen minced quahogs (1 large can or two small cans minced clams, drained)

1 1/2 cups clam broth (use fish broth to supplement broth from clams)

3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Add well-beaten eggs. Mix in clams and broth gradually until soft, sticky dough is formed. Heat vegetable oil in deep cast-iron skillet. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot (360-degree) oil until browned, turning once 4 minutes to 6 minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "These are a little tricky to get right, but the results are worth a little experimentation. Don't add the clam broth all at once. Add 3/4 cup and then see how thin the batter is ... too thin and the batter doesn't hold together as a cake.

"The batter should be just about the consistency of pancake batter or a little thicker. Also, if your oil isn't hot enough, the batter spreads too much in the pan. The flavor of these fritterlike cakes is simple, delicious ocean brininess. If you want to add a little zip, you could include 1/4 cup finely minced onion in the batter."

Recipe requests

Mary Pulket of Bel Air is seeking a recipe called Chicken Lemonaise, which she had at the Daniel Webster Inn in Cape Cod. "It was delicious boneless and skinless chicken with a sauce that was from lemons and with capers and I don't know what else. I sure hope you can find it."

Helen R. Oullette of Salem, Ore., says she is seeking a recipe for chocolate cheesecake. She says she has found many recipes, but not for a chocolate one. "Hope you can help me out."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Names must accompany recipes for them to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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