Rhode Island Style Clam Cakes

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.
 

Rhode Island Style Clam Cakes

  • 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 or 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3.5 Cups Flour
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. *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.