- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 whole jalapeno, seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 lemon, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 pounds local littleneck or steamer clams, scrubbed, or 2 (15-ounce) cans baby clams
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 red bell pepper, 1/4-inch diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup room temperature beer, such as pale ale
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 to 1 cup reserved clam broth
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- Fritter Dipper Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
For the clams: In a large pot over high heat, add the oil and when hot, add the thyme, jalapeno, garlic, and lemon. Cook for 1 minute, and then add the white wine, red chile flakes, and butter. Bring this mixture to a boil and then add the clams. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the clams and strain over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. When clams are cool enough to handle, remove from their shells and chop.
Guy's tip: If using canned baby clams, build the clam liquid the same as above and then add the baby clams and 1/3 cup of the can liquid into the broth, turn off heat and let sit 15 minutes. No need to chop these!
For the fritter batter: In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and, when melted, add the red bell pepper, onions, and jalapenos. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, and then add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the parsley and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a plate to cool.
In a large bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and baking powder. Mix well. Make a well in the center and add the beer and the egg yolks, and fold together with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add in the cooled vegetable mixture, the chopped clams, and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the reserved, strained cooking broth. You are looking for the consistency of pancake batter.
In a large skillet over high heat, add the canola oil and when hot (200 degrees F) add the fritter batter in 1/3 cup amounts, careful not to crowd. Be cautious, these pop sometimes, splattering hot oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, gently turn over and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with reserved salt and repeat. Can be held warm in a 275 degrees F oven for 15 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges, the remaining 1 tablespoon minced parsley, and the Fritter Dipper Sauce
Fritter Dipper Sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
In the small bowl of a food processor fitted with the bottom blade, add the egg yolk, vinegar, horseradish, and salt and pulse to combine. With the motor running, very slowly add in the olive oil in a fine stream.
Once mayonnaise is created, add the remaining ingredients, and adjust seasoning if needed.
Guy's Tip: If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes allow flavors to marry.