Fried Clam Arepas with Tartar Slaw

Nothing says summer in New England like a big basket of fried clams and tartar sauce. I was craving some last week but hadn't made it up to the beach yet, so like usual I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was thinking of fun ways to serve the clams, when I thought of the idea of a fried fish sandwich with a slaw on top. Of course, I had to swap out the normal roll with something new, when it hit me that New England fried clams are usually dredged in corn flour. I instantly thought of serving them on a corn cake of some sort, and the first thing that came to mind was an arepa.
To go with the clams, a slaw inspired by tartar sauce.  I called it "Tartar Slawce" but nobody was on board.
Get a fresh bucket of clams for this.  The ones that don't have shells anymore. Do not get actual clams. It's a pain.  If you do end up with actual clams though for some reason, the easiest way to get them out of their shells is to simmer in a splash of wine or beer or even water until they open slightly.  Then you can rip them open the rest of the way and scoop out the meat.
Dredge them in the corn flour and fry.  Not corn meal.  Corn flour.
Served in an arepa with that slaw and these were a perfect lunch on a summer day.
The clam bellies are so soft and juicy and the corn batter and slaw are crunchy.  The corn cake adds a great flavor to the whole thing but only helps accentuate the clams, not hide them.
TARTAR SLAWCE!  Get on board.

Fried Clam Arepas with Tartar Slaw

  • Clams
  • 1 pound whole belly clams
  • corn flour
  • Oil for Frying
  • Tartar Slaw
  • 1/2 head Cabbage thin sliced
  • 2 Carrots sliced with a julienne peeler
  • 2 whole Pickles diced
  • 2 tablespoons Pickle Juice
  • 4 Scallions sliced
  • 1/2 clove Garlic grated
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • Arepas
  • 2 cup Harina PAN or other brand of arepa flour (par-cooked cornmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Warm Water

Instructions

  1. Mix all the slaw ingredients and allow to sit a half hour before serving. Start light with the mayo and add more as needed, but a lot of water will leech out of the cabbage as it sits, so it's best to under-do it to start.
  2. Mix the arepa flour with the salt, butter and egg, then stir in about a cup and a half of the water. Mix well. If it seems dry, add a little more water.
  3. Heat a cast iron grill pan or a regular frying pan to medium high heat with a little butter and scoop large 1/2 cup scoops of the arepa batter onto the pan. Flatten the arepas to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds. After 3-5 minutes when they are bronwed on the first side, flip and lower the heat a little. Cook until browned on that side as well, more like 6 -7 minutes, then flip again and cook another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat the frying oil to 375. The clams will be wet. Toss them into the corn flour to dredge and try to fully coat them with corn. Shake off excess and fry for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Split the arepas like an English muffin an fill with clams and slaw. Serve immediately.