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Clam Cakes in CT?

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  • Trisha Jul 6, 2001 09:43 AM
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Anyone know where I can find a seafood stand/shack/restaurant that serves clam cakes? Usualy, I travel to Pt Judith in RI, but would like to find something closer to home near the CT shoreline, maybe along the infamous Route 1. Any suggestions?Thanks!

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  1. Despite having been to the Eastern shore many times, from FL to ME, I've never seen or tasted a clam cake. Could you describe one --method of cooking, ingredients, etc? Many thanks.

    5 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      When I was growing up in Bellingham, MA, the clamcakes served in the area were deep-fried dough balls with bits of clam in them. They were a side dish served with fried fish, etc. We ate them in both MA and RI.

      I've been living in Southern ME for +25 years, and the clamcakes here are the shaped like a thick burger, firm, with a crumb filler, but ~75% chopped clams, fried and often served on a bun.

      It's been years since I've had any, maybe I should check some out real soon (to make sure they haven't changed).

      You usually find these in dives, tourist traps, and family takeouts, all places which specialize in fried foods, so if you don't frequent this sort of place, you could easily miss them.

      1. re: ironmom

        Thanks, ironmom for the clam cake tutorial. The "doughballs" you grew up with seem strangely close to hushpuppies. And the clam "burgers" I'd gobble down in a minute. I'll keep my eyes open next trip and get acquainted with one or the other!

        1. re: berkleybabe

          I grew up in southeastern MA just a hop skip an a jump
          from the cape. I fondly remember the hushpuppy like clam cakes that we bought and scarfed in great numbers
          at (do you remember) Paragon Park.
          Now I live in Maine and the first thing I did when I
          came up here was to go to the Yarmouth clam festival.
          Heh...wont make that mistake again. The place was a mob
          scene. You were lucky if you could walk through the crowd let alone get your car out of the $7 parking yard. The prices charged for any amount of clams were
          outrageous. But yes indeed I did experience what they
          call up here a "Clam Cake". While it was burger shaped
          I have to say it was more filler than clams and reminded me more of a McDonalds hash brown. Cant say I
          was impressed but then again come to Maine sometime and try to order an Italian Sandwhich or cafe pizza and
          you will no doubt get to witness the downeast culture
          shock I had to go thru when I arrived.
          Dont get me wrong I love this state and wouldnt go no
          where else but if you come here expect to be surprised.
          Your best bet here is good home cooking, lobster, fried clams, and homemade wild blueberry pie.

        2. re: ironmom

          All the clam cakes I've ever had (Cape Cod and RI) have been of the "doughball" variety. The trick is to find ones that actually have a fair number of clams in them!

          1. re: ironmom

            I grew up in a little town next to yours called Mendon, MA. I have lived in Florida since 1983 and I know exactly what you are talking about. We used to buy our clamcakes at a little restaurant on Lake Hiawatha and I have been looking for a recipe for these ever since.

            I have tried clam fritters down here but these are not exactly what your talking about they seem to be a little heavier and doughier - more like hushpuppies. I am interested in this too. Hopefully someone keys in on exactly what these are.

        3. Trisha,

          Costello's in Noank has good clam cakes and really good chowder (plus it is on the water). There is another clam shack that I go to all the time in Rhode Island that is in Johnston. Their clams cakes are excellent. If you need the address let me know, I will look it up for you. I don't know it off the top of my head. (It is just about 10 minutes over the CT border.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nancy Ives

            HI I AM NEW AT THIS FIRST TIME LOOKING FOR RECIPE FOR CLAM CAKES LIKE THEY MAKE IN RI THANK U

            1. re: SHIRLEY

              Welcome but no need to shout (all caps). About the crab cakes, you might do better to post your request on a recipe swap site.

            2. re: Nancy Ives

              Costello's does not offer clam cakes, only clam fritters. I was there today hoping for cakes but had the fritters. They were pretty awful...shouldn't clam fritters taste a little like clams, at least? These were fried perfectly but tasted like fried bread stuffing without the seasonings. Cole slaw was adequate. The location is terrific but don't know that I'd want to return. Guess I should have ordered more common shack food.

            3. Thought I would bring this post back to life with my recipe for clam cakes. I am from MA and have experience making this type. Here we go:

              2 Eggs
              1/2 tsp Paprika
              1 tsp fresh chives or parsley
              1/4 tsp onion powder
              1/2 tsp Salt
              1/8 tsp pepper
              1 Tbs. Sugar
              1/2 Cup Milk
              1 small can minced clams (8 oz. or fresh quohogs if you have them)
              1/2 Cup Clam Juice or lquid from steaming fresh ones
              2 Cups Flour
              2 tsp Baking Powder
              1TBS. Old Bay Seasoning (optional if you can find it)

              Sift all dry ingredients together, add wet ingredients, stir well until all is smooth, refrigerate the batter for 1/2 Hour. Cold batter will work out better for frying.

              Heat Deep Fryer or deep pan with peanut oil (preferred) to 360 degrees.

              With two wet Tablespoons scoop one in the batter, and slide it off of the spoon with the other, fry in oil until golden brown. make sure to turn as they are frying to cook and brown evenly. Adjust the size of the cakes accroding to the way they are coming out. too big and they wont cook through before browning, to small and they will overcook, just test a few and see what works for you. Make sure oil doesnt get to hot - 360 - 375 range is good.

              Serve with homemade chowder - or just on a plate with a lemon wedge, hot sauce, and salt MMMMMmmmmm

              GOOD LUCK !!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jimbosox04

                I recently tried the whole belly clams at Johnnie Ads in Old Saybrook ( tasty though slightly over cooked) They had clam cakes on the menu saying "no need to go to RI"

              2. Sea Swirl in Mystic has the best clam cakes. I stopped driving to Pt. Judith for this reason! They also have a great cod sandwich. Plan to wait in line for a bit, but they are worth it !!

                1. I second Sea Swirl in Mystic. I have had the clam cakes on a couple of occasions. Excellent. Seems like all the other places in CT that I have tried them, they were doughy, with hardly any clams in them.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: HeidiCT

                    I am pretty serious about my clam cakes and I've never had a bad batch at Sea Swirl. They are always freshly made, lots of clams, and never too oily.

                    1. re: coastalgypsy

                      So funny. I'm living in CT and loving local clams but secretly missing hush puppies . . . these clam cakes sound like a godsend!

                      1. re: zoe p.

                        Actually, last time I was at Seaswirl, they had added corn fritters to the menu.. that's what hush puppies are, right?

                        1. re: coastalgypsy

                          Do clam cakes use cornmeal? I think hush puppies can be a mix of flours, but they're not bright yellow for sure . . .

                          1. re: coastalgypsy

                            Corn fritters and hush puppies are different creatures. Corn fritters are whole kernel or shaved corn bound with a batter made of flour, liquid and leavening. They are light and do not stay crispy long. In MD they are doused with powdered sugar. Hush puppies are made with a thick cornmeal batter and usually flavored with onion among many other variations. Hope that clarifies thing s a bit.

                          2. re: zoe p.

                            I'm a CT native and never heard of "clam cakes," but am very familiar with "clam fritters." If we're talking about clams in little fried dough balls--look for fritters. And, specifically, look for them in the Rhode Island building at the Big E next month. OK, so it's not CT, but it's darned close, and who DOESN'T love the Big E!

                      2. The best place in CT I'd have to say is Hank's Dairy Bar in Plainfield (northeastern CT). They have the light, fluffy, golden batter.....with plenty of clams!!!