Fried Clams To Die For

Clams

There are fried clams and then there are fried clams!!  This past week I attended a conference in Freeport, ME.  I asked at the Harraseeket Inn where we were staying who had the best fried clams in the area where the locals ate.  I was told it was the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster on Casco Bay. The weather was quite lovely on the evening we went. The lobster shack was like so many other lobster and clam shacks along the coast of New England. Visitors had the choice of dining in or out, but since there was quite a breeze we decided to eat in the dining room which was simple and immaculate.

Harraseeket_home2_r1_c3

At the window we ordered fried clams and learned you could have them with a choice of batters, crumbs or batter. My friend and I went with the crumbs and it was an excellent choice. The clams with the batter option would have been more batter than clams in my humble opinion. The fried clams with the crumbs were light with just the right amount of batter. One could actually enjoy the taste of the clams. It didn’t hurt that these were most likely the freshest clams I have ever eaten. Literally right off the boat! The order came with fries which were hot and crispy and the order was large enough for the two of us to share one order.

Batter choice

Crab Cakes

As an appetizer, we tried the crab cakes.  Again they were made with Maine crabs and were light and absolutely delicious. If you are heading to Maine this summer, it is a mere 3 miles from L L Bean on Main Street. Just head down Bow St (right across from the main entrance), take a right on South and continue until you see the sign for Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster right on Casco Bay.

Clam Cakes

Fried Clams at Janine’s in Ware, MA

Believe or not, Janine’s in Ware, MA serves delicious fried clams and an excellent lobster roll.  Whenever I have had their fried clams I have requested a light dusting of flour which make them similar to those at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster.

Fried Clam Recipe from Woodman’s in Essex, MA

For the recipe from the inventor of the fried clam, check out our blog at http://tasteandtales.com/books/chubby-and-the-clam/.

 

Polar Bear Ice Cream with Raspberry Truffles – Westview Farms, Monson, MA

Today, Sunday the 19th is National Ice Cream Day and I must say                                                           Westview polar bear ice cream
that the above ice cream is the bestest.  It is vanilla ice cream with
raspberry swirls with chocolate raspberry truffles in it.  You can find Westview Farm on East Hill Road in Monson, MA.  The view from the farm faces west and one can still see where the tornado went through four years ago.  Fortunately the farm was not greatly damaged but several homes nearby were, but have been rebuilt.  If it weren’t for the trees, one would never know that a tornado had gone through the area.

The farm also has a wonderful pumpkin patch in the fall and a great fenced in area where many goats of all ages reside. You can purchase cones filled with feed for $.25 cents.

Baby goats

Bar Harbor Inn Lobster Mac & Cheese

From A Taste of lobster and some tales too – this is delicious!!  

Bar Harbor Inn Lobster Mac and CheeseLobster Mac and Cheese

2 cups uncoooked elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons floor
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk or half-and-half
8 ounces Cabot’s grated Sharp Cheddar cheese
12 ounces cooked cleaned lobster meat cut into bite size pieces
4 ounces cracker meal
1 teaspoon paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. While macaroni is cooking, make white sauce by melting butter in saucepan and stir in flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes, stirring continuously.  Gradually add the milk; add 6 ounces grated Cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until melted.  Add lobster to sauce.  Add sauce to cooked macaroni.
  4. In a separate bowl mix cracker meal and paprika. Place macaroni mix in glass or ceramic casserole dish and top with cracker meal mix and remaining cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until top is golden and bubbly.
  6. Serve with fresh field green salad and crisp white wine.

Serves 4

Hidden Gem in Hardwick, MA

Rose32 logo1

Population of Hardwick, MA is under 3,000, but it has a bakery and cafe that draws in customers from many miles away, Rose32.  The owners began baking breads in the 1970s in San Francisco.  After 4 decades of growing a 1 shop bakery into 4 retail stores, a distribution network both retail and wholesale, they sold the big business and moved to the hamlet of Gilbertville, a part of Hardwick.

Renovated gas station

After a year or so, they decided to become bakers once again and a lot of people are so glad they did.  Next they needed to locate an outlet for the bakery so the search began.  Finally they determined that the former service station that had served the community and travelers on Rt. 32 for many decades would make a grand bakery.  It took nearly 1 1/2 years to renovate the service station into the beautiful bakery and cafe.

This past Saturday a friend and I went to Janine’s Frostee for their lobster roll and as we left, I decided that it would be a good time to try and locate Rose32.  It is about a mile from where Rt. 9 and 32 intersect.  The cafe has many outside table and inside there are a few large tables along with the bakery.  They are open Wednesday through Sunday from early morning through mid-afternoon.

Begin with breakfast either scrambled eggs, an egg sandwich or a hash scramble with diced ham, potatoes and green onions topped with Cabot cheddar. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., while lunch is served all day.  You will need to get their early as the lines are long on weekends.

All breads and bakery items are made on the premises.  The breads are made in small batches with only flour, water and salt.  They have a bread called the Hardwick Loaf with wheat grown in Hardwick that is milled fresh at the bakery each day. They say it is amazing and the next time I am out that way I will definitely buy a loaf.

Plugra-Foodservice-Stacked

They also carry European-style butter or what is known as cultured butter.  It is definitely more expensive than store bought butter, but true bakers use it when making pie crust and other layered baked goods such as scones and croissants.  European butter is made more slowly which allows for a stronger flavor. The main difference between the butters is the fat content.  European butter has a 83-86% fat content while non-cultured butter is about 81%. Butter with more fat has less water thereby creating a lighter pastry.  It is not important when making cookies, bars or even brownies, but if you are making scones or kouign anam which have what is called a laminated dough you will want to use a European butter.

Sweet Roll Rose32

To the left is their pecan sweet roll and the kouign anam is to the right.  I had never had or heard of the latter so a little research was necessary.  Kouign anam ( (pronounced [,kwiɲˈamɑ̃nː]), is a little cake from the town of Douarnenez in Finistère, Brittany, where it originated  around 1860.   It is light and flaky due to the layers of butter and noted cookbook author David Lebovitz has a delicious recipe with great instructional pictures as to how to make this caramelized treat.

So go to Rose32 in Hardwick and enjoy the many delicious baked goods.  It is a little gem in a small town in Central Mass.

Great Food at Blue Marlin in Essex, MA

Blue Marlin ImageFriday evening, I was visiting friends in Gloucester when we decided to go out to dinner.  The original choice was the Windward Grille, but since we didn’t have a reservation we would have had to wait over an hour.  Decided instead to go up the road a piece and dine at the Blue Marlin Grille on Rt. 133.  We all started out with Clam Chowder and I must admit it was delicious.  Could actually stand my spoon up, it was so thick with clams and potatoes.  Told it won the Chowder contest at the Essex ClamFest.  We all had something different, I did Surf and Turf with baked shrimp and tenderloin tips – excellent.  Our waitress was great and considering it was graduation night and the restaurant was packed, everything arrived perfectly. Must also state they had excellent cole slaw – just right. You can have a peek at these guys if you have the idea of opening up a new restaurant of this franchise around your locality.

Clams and Essex are synonymous.  Nearly 100 years ago at Woodman’s a mile or so down the road, Chubby Woodman in response to a dare, fried a few clams and an instant hit occurred.  On July 4, 1916, Chubby and his wife Bessie, presented his Fried Clams to the residents of Essex during the parade.  People across New England are always looking for the best Fried Clam. Personally, I don’t like a lot of batter, but others do.  Be prepared for long lines.

Chubby and Bessie’s Fried Clams

26 ounces whole belly clams
12 ounces evaporated milk
4 cups corn flour
Lard (Crisco can be used). Do not use olive oil.

Fried Clams

  1. 1.   In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 2 3/4 pounds lard or vegetable oil to a depth of 2-inches in the pan. Heat to 350 degrees F. Using two bowls, pour evaporated milk into one, and corn flour into the other. In small batches put   the clams in a hand-held strainer, and submerge into the bowl of evaporated milk to coat. Remove the strainer from the bowl and shake off the excess milk.  Next dredge the clams until they are well covered with corn flour (you may want to use a clean dry hand-held strainer to shake off the excess flour).
  2. Carefully place the clams into hot lard or oil. Be careful, because lard will spatter.  Cook in small batches, turning to cook both sides, until they are golden brown.  Using a slotted scoop remove from oil. Shake gently to remove excess oil. The clams will take approximately 1 1/2 minutes to cook. The color is the most important. They should be a golden brown.  Serves 8 (appetizer-sized servings).

For those few who have never been to Woodman’s, the restaurant is located on Main Street (Rt. 133), Essex, MA.
Courtesy of Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes

Recipes from Taste and Tales of Coastal New England

CNE Front Only

Chubby and the Clam – Woodman’s celebrates 100 years

6a012876db717c970c01a3fd11bc5d970b-320wi“The ubiquitous fried clam was invented on July 3, 1916 at Woodman’s in Essex. Whether on purpose or by accident, Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman dropped a clam or two into a fryer while he was making a batch of french fries and lo and behold, the fried clam was born. To true New Englanders, a fried clam must have the belly and they must be Ipswich clams; those small, yet ever so succulent, bivalves (shells consisting of two halves, or valves). The Ipswich clam is really a bivalve king, monarch of the mollusks. Dug from tidal flats along the Essex River, the clams must, by law, be taken only by a hand rake and not dredged.”  Taste and Tales of Massachusetts

On Sunday, I saw an article about a new cookbook, Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes.  Immediately e-mailed a fellow food, Heather Atwood of Gloucester, who said it was great.  It came today and has all the famous recipes that countless thousands have enjoyed throughout the years, but one!  I figured it would be the fried clam recipe and I was wrong, it is the fried onion recipe.  So whether it is Nannie Woodman’s, Lemon Pie or the great cole slaw, they are all here.

Chubby and Bessie’s Fried Clams

  • 26 ounces whole belly clams
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 4 cups corn flour
  • Lard (Crisco can be used). Do not use olive oil.

 

  1. In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 2 3/4 pounds lard or vegetable oil to a depth of 2-inches in the pan. Heat to 350 degrees F. Using two bowls, pour evaporated milk into one, and corn flour into the other. In small batches put the clams in a hand-held strainer, and submerge into the bowl of evaporated milk to coat. Remove the strainer from the bowl and shake off the excess milk.  Next dredge the clams until they are well covered with corn flour (you may want to use a clean dry hand-held strainer to shake off the excess flour).
  2. Carefully place the clams into hot lard or oil. Be careful, because lard will spatter.  Cook in small batches, turning to cook both sides, until they are golden brown.  Using a slotted scoop remove from oil. Shake gently to remove excess oil. The clams will take approximately 1 1/2 minutes to cook. The color is the most important. They should be a golden brown.  Serves 8 (appetizer-sized servings).

For those few who have never been to Woodman’s, the restaurant is located on Main Street (Rt. 133), Essex, MA.

Courtesy of Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes