Cook Time: 15 minutes, because you are frying in batches
1 pound shucked clams (cherrystones, littlenecks, or Western littlenecks or Manila clams)
1 cup corn flour (as in “fish fry” mix)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup buttermilk or evaporated milk
oil for frying
Pick through the clams to make sure there are no bits of shell or obvious grit. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Submerge the clams in buttermilk.
Preheat the oven to 200ºF and put a rack set over a baking sheet inside the oven. Heat enough oil to float the clams, about a quart or so. What oil? Anything you feel like, but I prefer peanut oil or, well… fresh lard. You want the oil hot, about 360ºF.
When the oil is almost ready, coat a few clams in the breading. Don’t do more than your fryer can handle in one batch, as you want the clams to go right from breading into the fryer. If you want super-extra crispy clams, dip the breaded clams back in the buttermilk and again in the breading; I think this is too much, but some people like them that way.
Fry the clams until they are golden brown, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Move them to the rack in the oven and repeat with the remaining clams — make sure the oil gets back up to temperature between batches. Serve with homemade tartar sauce, malt vinegar, remoulade, ketchup or hot sauce