Having been born and raised in New England, I have a proper appreciation for seafood. I love it. Now that I am in Southern Maryland my appreciation has been slightly altered, but remains strong.
See, in New England they have real fried clams -- the ones with the bellies. Yeah, when I was a kid there were a few places that wimped out and sold fried clam strips (I'm looking at you, HoJo's!) but if you went into those places you kind of skulked in, hoping your friends didn't see you while at the same time being embarrassed for your parents who were the ones who dragged you in there in the first place.
In Southern Maryland, the big things are oysters and crabs. Now I like oysters, but fried oysters just don't hold a candle to fried clams. (And crabs -- they're darned tasty but the people around here boast about crabs only because they don't have lobster!)
So we've been looking for a place around here that serves decent fried clams and it turns out there's a little hole-in-the-wall diner a couple of miles away that has them. I hope to check it out this week. I really am tired of driving 500 miles to Cape Cod every time I get a hankering for clams.
(The very best fried clams we ever had were from another hole-in-the-wall place off the rotary by the Hyannis airport. The place was there for only one season and has been mightily mourned ever since.)
And while I'm gorging on what I hope are fried clams that live up to their local reputation, I thought I'd give you a recipe to try for yourselves.