I am definitely one of those ‘celebrates fall prematurely’ kind of people. I just love everything about fall. As the leaves begin to speckle with oranges and reds, and zucchini recipes give way to cinnamon apple delights, I find myself, yet again, very optimistic for the future. And even though every sunday from now until February is booked (Go Patriots!), I will definitely be making the time to whip up some of my fall favorites, including this sweet potato and pumpkin cider fried whole belly clams recipe!
The Pumpkin Cider
Down East Cider is my absolute favorite hard cider to drink in the fall. I find that most ciders are WAY too sweet and syrupy. Down East has a wet bite, with the perfect amount of sweetness, carbonation and seasoned piquancy. Their pumpkin blend cider is hands down the best fall cider out there. Don’t expect that artificial pumpkin flavor that makes you think…wait…that’s not what a pumpkin tastes like! It is the epitome of what you expect pumpkin spiced cider to taste like. It’s like Down East smashed a pumpkin and mixed it with football, leaves, that start of the school year excitement feeling, and champagne bubbles to form this dynamic and down right DELICIOUS autumn drink. And with only 16 grams of sugar, I obviously HAD to make a recipe with it! Recipes using hard cider don’t have to be too sweet!
How To Shuck Clams For Frying:
You want to make sure you rinse the clams prior to cooking them to get any grit off of their shells. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and plop the clams in for 3 minutes. They will not be cooked all of the way, but their shells will open just enough to allow you to get your fingers in between to pry them open. Drain them and run them under cold water to cool down the shells. Pry them open (the shells can be sharp, so if you have a clam knife, use it!). Take a fork and pull the clam out of the shell and place it in a bowl. Do this for all of the clams.
How much do you need this over the sink strainer?!
Battering and Frying the clams
Once you make the delicious sweet potato and pumpkin cider batter, you are going to fill another bowl with bread crumbs. To save time, I used the boxed Progresso kind. Take a clam and dip it in the batter. Let any excess batter drip off, then roll it in the bread crumbs. Transfer to a new plate and continue with all of the clams. While you are doing this step, you should have a pot filled with vegetable or canola oil over the heat. You want to heat it to 350 degrees, however if you don’t have an oil thermometer, you can test 1 clam by placing it in the pot: if it browns within 1 minute, you know its a little too hot. It should become a beautiful golden brown within 2-3 minutes. When your oil is the perfect temperature, carefully place the rest of the clams in and cook, stirring occasionally and carefully (you don’t want to remove the batter from the clam), until a beautiful golden brown color, usually 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Eat it quickly, they are best served piping hot!
When to serve Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Cider Fried Whole Belly Clams:
These battered clams are the best football snack idea! Your cheering guests will love the fact that they are being served something different than buffalo chicken wings and potato skins. And the fall flavors will tie it into the season. You can also serve these crispy bites as an appetizer for holidays or dinner parties. Since they are fairly quick to make, it won’t be difficult for you to add these to your menu, and they are sure to impress. But don’t feel like you can’t just make these for a weekend snack, because you ABSOLUTELY can! I’m not saying I ate the whole batch myself on a Saturday, but…
Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Cider Fried Clams
- 1 15oz can Down East Pumpkin Blend Cider
- 1/3 cup condensed sweet potato soup (I used campbells)
- 50 fresh live cherry stone clams
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I used boxed progresso bread crumbs)
- 2 cups Canola oil or Vegetable Oil (or enough to fill your pot by about 1.5 inches)
- Rinse off any grit on the clams under cold water.
- Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Once a roaring boil, carefully add the clams. Let the clams boil for 3 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and drain out all of the water. The clams should have opened slightly; any clams that did not open, discard.
- Run the clams under cold water to cool down the shells. Begin to pry open the shells: be careful because the shells can be sharp! If you have a clam knife, use it! Once open, scoop out the clam using a fork and place it in a bowl. Repeat for all clams.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, corn starch, salt and pepper. Toss in the condensed sweet potato soup and the entire can of pumpkin cider. Mix until a batter like consistency.
- Pour bread crumbs into a new bowl.
- Fill a large pot or dutch oven with enough oil to fill 1.5 inches of the pot. Heat up to 350 degrees. (if you don't have an oil thermometer, you can test the temp of the oil by adding 1 battered and breaded clam to the oil. If it browns within 1 minute, you know the oil is a little too hot. It should come to a nice golden brown within 2-3 minutes)
- You should have 3 bowls now: the clams bowl, the batter bowl and the bread crumbs bowl. Take 1 clam and dip it in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Roll it in the breadcrumbs until it is completely covered, then place it on a plate. Repeat for all of the clams.
- Once the oil is the proper temperature, add the clams, working in batches to avoid over crowding the pot. Cook untouched for 1 minute, then stir to flip the clams. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until a nice golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all of the clams are cooked.
- Serve immediately and enjoy! Option to serve with tartar sauce, however you likely wont need it!
If you liked this sweet potato and pumpkin cider fried whole belly clams recipe, than you will LOVE my Asian Chimichurri Roasted Asparagus recipe!
This ginger wasabi roasted asparagus recipe is a bright and unique take on a traditional veggie side dish! Crisp asparagus stems are topped with a citrusy and intriguing wasabi sesame blend, and are then roasted in the oven to perfection! The heat of the oven helps to burn off the pungency of the wasabi, leaving …