A few questions -
1. How should fried clams be coated?
2. Depending on answer # 1, where is this common?
3. Were there always clam strips outside of Howard Johnsons?
A new seafood shack opened near me and one poster commented that they were not coated with breadcrumb batter that most places use in New England.
Even though I grew up in New England, I never considered there might be breadcrumbs in the batter.
I did find a recipe for Maryland fried clams that used bread crumbs.
My copy of the LL Bean Book of New New England cookery says that in Essex, Mass ... where the fried clams is said to have originated ... the batter was cornmeal moistened with condensed milk.
However, they say that using finely ground cracker crumbs for a crispier coating. They warn the steps for producing that perfect coating is to dredge in flour first, then egg batter and finally crackers.
I was always under the assumption it was just a flour coating. The majority of my fried clams first came from New Haven, Ct, later Boston with occasional vacations at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
I was under the impression that the only place that sold clam strips was Howard Johnson's (RIP). I just don't remember the clam shacks offering that option.
I mean what's the point? Clams strips are only for the fresh clam-deprived (although deep in my memory I seem to remember a Chowhound clam strip discussion).
There's a link below with a bunch of different fried clam recipes.
Looking around ... I'm trying to keep an open mind ... it might just be delicious ... I found this recipe
Fried Clams with Gaahlicky Blue Cheese Dip
But the New Englander in me cringes. I think "Tsk, tsk, Emeril".
So please don't clam up - how should they be coated?