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Clams Casino Fritters with Tartar Sauce and Chili Oil

Clams Casino Fritters with Tartar Sauce and Chili Oil
Nick DiGiovanni
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

Rhode Island is known for clams casino — clams on the half shell with bacon and breadcrumbs. Since I was a kid, my brothers and I have dug for clams all across Rhode Island since they can be so easy to find and are so incredibly delicious and fresh. I've taken my own spin here and made clams casino fritters.

Technique tip: Keep the spoon close to oil when dropping batter to avoid jumping hot oil. Use a microplane grater to get fine lemon zest when serving fritters.

Swap option: Option to substitute milk for almond milk or coconut milk. Can also use canned clams instead of real littlenecks.


  • 6 littleneck clams
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • Oil, for frying
Tartar Sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup dill pickles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chili oil
  • Chives, chopped
  • Lemon zest


For the fritters:


Cook clams in just enough boiling water for until they open, 5-10 minutes. Remove them from shells and dice them, reserving 2 tablespoons of the clam juice.


Combine clam juice, milk and egg in bowl. Add flour and baking powder and whisk. Add chopped bacon, diced onions, and grated Parmesan. Season with paprika, salt and pepper.


Heat a pot of oil to 375°F and carefully drop in spoonfuls of batter, frying for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Reserve on paper towels and lightly salt.

For the tartar sauce:

Combine all tartar sauce ingredients and add a bit of salt and pepper.

To serve:

Plate fritters in center of plate over a swipe of tartar sauce, and grate lemon zest over fritters and sprinkle with chives. Add a swirl of chili oil around the pile of fritters and serve.