Clamballs!*

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I needed something new to do with my clams, and decided to try to make them meatball-style.  The recipe would work for baked stuffed clams, or as a kind of casserole, but we liked it as clamballs.  I served it with a spicy red clam sauce over whole-wheat spaghetti.

Clamballs

2 strips bacon
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 t. Old Bay seasoning (or anything remotely resembling it)
1 c. ground or finely chopped clams
1 c. breadcrumbs
¼ c. clam juice
1 egg
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, chopped fine
vegetable oil for pan-frying

1. In a medium skillet, fry the bacon over low heat until it’s crisp. Remove it to paper towels to drain.

2. Add the onion and celery to the bacon fat in the pan and sauté over low heat until the vegetables are limp and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the Old Bay and cook another minute or two.

3. In a bowl, combine the onion mixture (but don’t clean the pan) with all the remaining ingredients except the vegetable oil. It should stick together pretty well. If it doesn’t, add another egg.

4. In the same pan, add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat. When it’s hot, add as many clamballs as will fit comfortably. Brown them on all sides – it shouldn’t take more than two or three minutes per side (see NOTE, below) – and remove to paper towels to drain. Do the remaining balls in batches, adding oil as needed (I ended up with two batches of six).

5. Serve with any kind of clam sauce, or a simple marinara sauce, over pasta.

NOTE: It’s hard to know how many sides a clamball has. It’s sufficient to brown just the top and bottom. If you’re fastidious, you end up with six browned sides per. Anything in between is just fine.

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