Emeril's Clam Cakes with Tartar Sauce

Total Time:
2 hr 20 min
35 min
1 hr 30 min
15 min

about 3 1/2 dozen

  • 2 1/4 cups chopped fresh clams (about 30 cherrystone clams) *see note
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Essence, plus more for dusting, recipe follows
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Tartar Sauce, recipe follows
  • Chopped parsley leaves, garnish
  • Lemon wedges

Drain the clams while making the batter.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, Essence, and cayenne. Add the egg, milk, and clam juice, and mix to make a thick batter. Fold in the clams, shallots, green onions, parsley, and garlic.

In a large cast iron skillet, or deep saute pan, heat enough oil to come 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the pan to 350 degrees F.

Drop the batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with Essence.

Arrange the fritters on a large platter, with the tartar sauce in a bowl in the center. Garnish with the parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.


If using fresh clams, rinse well under cold running water. Place in a bucket or large bowl or pot. Fill with enough water to cover by 2 inches and add enough water to equal the salinity of seawater. Let sit for 10 minutes. Repeat the process until no sand remains in the bottom of the bucket.

To facilitate shucking the clams, return them to the bucket and fill with very warm (not hot) water. Let the clams sit until they begin to open their shells slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Shuck the clams, discarding the shells, and refrigerating the meat until ready to use.

Tartar Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)

2 tablespoons drained sweet pickle relish

1 tablespoon drained capers (chopped, if large)

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

In a bowl, fold together the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, giving the sauce 1 hour to stand before serving for the flavors to blend. (Note: If using homemade mayonnaise, the tartar sauce must be refrigerated and used within 24 hours.)

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

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