Monday, July 16, 2012

Clam Fritters (Gluten Free)

I am back up in Massachusetts, cooking in my tiny, no-counters summer space. Actually, by Bloomberg micro-pad standards, the kitchen is not all that small, it just has very little counter space. Anyhow, I took the opportunity to make clam fritters. Usually, when I need to use flour, I just use it, and endure the aches and pains engendered by the gluten. However, I discovered Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose flour at the Big-Y supermarket in Great Barrington. While Bob makes his flour of various non floury things like garbanzo beans and potatoes, it works fine. Warning, make sure your fritters are fully cooked, because Bob's raw tastes nasty.
My clam fritters were not redolent of clam taste, even though I used the required amount. They just taste kind of like any old fritter. However, something about substitution. Since I had just gotten to Mass. and hadn't had time to accumulate stuff like baking powder, I used baking soda which worked fine. So if you are in clam land in a rental house and your landlord has put baking soda in the frig to keep smells at bay, go for it.
Another challenge is to make sure the oil is the proper temperature. Over three years of renting this place I have added to the kitchen equipment so the kitchen is reasonably well supplied. However, it does not have a cooking thermometer and is not likely to get one, at least not from me.  I only bought myself a cooking thermometer last winter after 43 years of cooking. Don't get the oil too hot, because the outside of the fritters cooks and leaves the inside all oozy.
So, what is too hot, and how will you know if you don't have a thermometer? Well, don't turn the gas up all the way, and keep an eye on the oil. After a couple of minutes drop a small dab of batter into the oil. It should sink to the bottom of the oil and fizz wildly. After a bit the batter will rise to the top of the oil. If the batter has browned on the underside, turn it over. Give it a minute to brown on the downside, and then remove it to drain. If the dough stays on the surface of the oil and browns almost immediately, chances are, the oil is too hot.
Here's a question. How does one dispose of the used oil? 1. Don't pour it down the sink. 2. Don't pour it down the sink, unless you want your plumbing to resemble the gigantic catch basin under Leicester Square in London, where a tube train's worth of congealed oil was removed a couple of years ago. I pour it into an empty bottle and put the bottle in the trash.

Clam Fritters

2 cups clams
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 tablespoon butter, melted
fat or oil for deep frying

1. Drain the clams and chop them.
2. Place the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, onion, butter and clams. Pour clam mixture into dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
3. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into fat or oil heated to 360 degrees. Fry until golden. Drain on paper towels.

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