FRIED CLAMS


Food editor Melissa Roberts-Matar figured out what makes The Harrison's clams so special: the lightness of the coating. That's achieved by draining the buttermilk-soaked clams well and shaking off the excess coating after you dredge the clams. One restaurant touch that we loved was the delicious addition of fried thin lemon rounds and parsley sprigs; another was 
Joey Campanaro's accompanying Lemon Coriander Aïoli.
10 cups canola oil
2 pounds clam strips (about 4 cups)
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken

1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cornmeal (preferably yellow, for color)
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 lemons
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, well-dried and loosely packed
Kosher salt, to taste

Accompaniment: Lemon Coriander Aïoli

Start by heating canola oil in pot over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 380°F.

While oil is heating, rinse and drain clam strips in a colander and stir together with buttermilk in a large bowl. Drain clams well in a colander set over a bowl, at least 5 minutes (reserve drained buttermilk).

Stir together cornstarch, cornmeal, flour, curry powder, celery salt, cayenne, and kosher salt in a large bowl.

Dredge 1 handful of drained clams in flour mixture, then shake in a large sieve over flour bowl to remove excess flour. Transfer clams, one by one, shaking them again to remove any excess flour mixture, to a baking sheet. Wash and dry lemons and cut crosswise into 1/16-inch slices. Dip 3 or 4 slices in reserved buttermilk, let excess drip off, then dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess (don't use the sieve).

Fry coated clams with coated lemon slices and 1/4 cup parsley sprigs per batch until clams are crisp and golden, about 1 1/2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Return oil to 380°F between batches, removing any bits of fried batter with a fine sieve and coating next batch of clams and lemon slices. The batches will get progressively darker, but that won't affect the flavor.

Cooks' note:
• We used a 5-quart heavy wide pot for frying, although an electric fryer will give you a result closer to that of a restaurant fryer.

* Available at Wild Edibles (212-687-4255) and many fish stores with advance notice.

Makes 8 servings.
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