Home-fried clams

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3 August 2005

Your humble clam master has been cooking and eating clams for many years, but except for
a couple of very unsatisfying experiences heating frozen clam strips (think of warm gummy
worms), I've never had fried clams at home before.

A couple of days ago, I received a nice email from Mike Annable of Diggers Choice in
Wareham Massachusetts, near Cape Cod. Mike buttered me up with compliments about this
website, and asked if I'd provide a link to the Diggers Choice site.

We get lots of requests for links, and, since this website is not my fulltime gig, I seldom have
time to investigate the requests, and I don't link just anyone. But since Mike said that the folks
in his office thought the site was funny; and only a few very enlightened people (not including
my wife) appreciate my sense of humor,  his request deserved special attention.

Anyway, I went to the Diggers Choice website, and immediately started salivating. These are
my kind of people! Mike and I exchanged some emails, I placed an order for a do-it-yourself
fried clam kit, and the next morning the UPS driver left a box at my front door, and sped away
without ringing the bell. This could have been a tragedy, but my dog barked and I opened the

The details of our experiment are below, but I'll give you the results now: Since I've encountered a lot of lousy fried clams, made by professional cooks in real restaurants, I was not at all optimistic about cooking my own. I'm an OK amateur, but really had no idea what was involved, and doubted that I'd produce anything edible on my first attempt. The meal was amazing -- way beyond what I expected. I can't say that they're the best fried clams I've ever had, but they're definitely much better than most of the fried clams I've had.


Although our frying oil was of dubious quality, and our kitchen crew had never fried clams
before, the amazing freshness of the clams came through. Many restaurants serve frozen
clams, or "fresh" clams that have been hanging around for three or four days, after traveling
for three or four days. These clams were on the beach on Tuesday, and in our bellies on
Wednesday. We could definitely taste the difference.

Another advantage over the pros: In restaurants, your cooked clams can sit around for ten
minutes, drying out under the heat lamp until the server brings them to you. If you order a
large portion, the second half will be cold before you finish the first half (and cold fried clams
suck). When you make your own clams, you cook a small portion (maybe a dozen per
person) and eat them while they're hot and juicy. After you finish, it takes just a minute or two
to make a second batch, and a third batch, and a fourth batch, and...

Frying clams at home is a great party idea. It's easy, and will provide your guests with a
unique experience -- much hipper than fondue or tacos or s'mores. It's fun, too; and you can
probably convince guests to cook and clean while you concentrate on eating and drinking.
Remember: clams and beer are two of the vital food groups necessary for nurturing human
brain cells.

Most people have never had really good fried clams, and with next-day delivery of a Diggers
Choice Fried Clam Kit, there is no reason to settle for second-rate clams.

UPDATE, 2013: Diggers Choice is no longer offering the clam kit, but Woods Seafood in Plymouth, MA can send you clams and breading. Have a feast! Call 800-626-1011 or 508-746-0261.

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