Traditional Heiltsuk Clam Fritter Recipe

Mussels, clams and oysters have been an important part of the diet for many First Nations communities for thousands of years. On the Northwest Coast, clams were often dried in large quantities for use. Clams were first steamed open in an earth oven and then strung on sticks and roasted over a bed of coals. Later they were placed between mats and trampled to tenderize. Finally, they were strung on long ropes which could be worn around the neck and snacked upon.

This recipe comes from the Heiltsuk Traditional Food booklet, shared with permission from Heiltsuk College. The recipe was provided by elder Marie Johnson.

TO CLEAN CLAMS:
1. Slide a knife between the two shells. Cut the two abductor muscles that hold the clam closed.
2. Pull the clam meat out of the shell, and peel off the tough outer skin if horse clams are used.
3. Rinse meat and cut into half inch pieces.
4. Save the juices.

CLAM FRITTERS
recipe by Marie Johnson

2 cups flour
3 tsps. baking powder
4 cups cleaned, diced clams
1 1/3 cups diluted milk
2 tsps. salt
pepper to taste
4 eggs, well beaten

Sift dry ingredients together. Add beaten eggs to milk. Pour egg mixture into flour and mix well. Add clams, mix well.
Drop into hot oil (350 degrees). Then turn heat down low (250 degrees) and cook slowly, browning both sides. Let drain on paper towel.

Delicious clam fritters with lime and aioli.

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