- 14 large (about 1kg) clams (see Note), purged
- 60 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk
- 50 g (⅔ cup) yellow masa flour (see Note) or plain flour
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
Red hot sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 185 ml (¾ cup) white vinegar
- 400 g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make hot sauce, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chillies, garlic and onion, and cook for 4 minutes or until golden. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes, sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook for 6 minutes or until softened. Cool slightly, then blend in a blender until puréed. Set aside.
Place clams in a saucepan with 60 ml cold water. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes or until clams open. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, remove from shells and drain on paper towel.
Place buttermilk in a bowl. Combine flour, cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt in a separate bowl. Dip clams into buttermilk, shaking off excess, then coat in flour mixture; pressing to ensure clams are well coated.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in 3 batches, fry clams, turning halfway, for 1½ minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve with hot sauce.
• Purge clams by washing in cold water 3 times. Pull clams out of the water rather than straining to avoid pouring dislodged sand and grit back over clams. Place in a bowl of cold water with 75 g rock salt for 2 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse under running water.
• Substitute cryovacked pre-packed blanched clams, from fishmongers, for fresh clams.
• Masa flour, available from Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au) and selected delis, is a fine flour made from corn.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg80.
Photography by Brett Stevens