I never liked seafood growing up, but the one "seafood" I ate every year was the Rhode Island style Clam Cakes in the Rhode Island state building at the Big E. I say "seafood" in quotes, because they are basically savory donuts with a hint of clam flavor. But they're so good! For my version, I kept them pretty close to the way I remembered, but slightly bumped up the actual fresh clam content and flavor. Only slightly!
Working with raw fresh clams can be a little intimidating. My friends were a little grossed out. Here they are all chopped up.
All the ingredients mixed together. It's a wet batter.
Dropping it into the fryer.
These were sooooo good! I haven't had the ones from the fair in at least 2 or 3 years, so I was really happy to eat these guys. The every so slightly amplified clam levels didn't overpower at all.
Perfectly crisp on the outside and airy on the inside.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canned clam sauce*
1/2 cup beer
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 pound fresh clams (about 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour
In a chilled bowl, mix the milk, clam sauce, beer, agave, and chopped fresh clams, keeping everything nice and cold. Mix in the dry ingredients. Use an ice cream scoop, or just a spoon, to scoop approx 2.5 tablespoon sized globs of dough into the hot oil. Fry at 350 for about 4-5 minutes.
I don't remember a dipping sauce, and I personally don't think it needs one, but I mixed some mayo, sriracha, and pickle juice together and it worked great for my friends.
*I needed to add liquid to the batter and didn't want to use water. Many recipes I saw used either a clam or seafood broth, but at the last minute I decided to try a canned clam sauce I found in the stock and broth section at my grocery store. It was a sort of upscale brand with a clean ingredients label and it ended up working great.