Ok, this is not exactly health food but once in a while it won’t kill you! In fact, done right deep frying does not add all that much fat to the food. The trick is to make sure that the oil at the correct temperature and not to overload the fryer so that the temperature drops too much. Fried shellfish is a staple in areas like New England, the Chesapeake Bay region, and Louisiana or anywhere that seafood is landed. Inland you will probably have to make do with frozen shrimp and scallops or canned shucked oysters or clams. But don’t let that discourage you. These all fry up nicely. While you have the fryer heated up, make a batch of French fries as an accompaniment and mix up some tartar sauce or cocktail sauce for dipping.
2 russet potatoes, about 1½ pounds total
1 pound shucked shellfish—clams, oysters, scallops, shrimp, or a combination
2 cups corn flakes chopped in a food processor to the consistency of breadcrumbs, or breadcrumbs
Old Bay® seasoning
1 egg beaten with a bit of water
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste
Unless you have two fryers do the potatoes first so they don’t pick up the flavor of the shellfish. Bread the seafood after the first cooking of the potatoes so that they are ready to go as soon as the second cooking is finished.
The French Fries
Preheat oven to 200° and put a cooling rack onto sheet pan and place on a middle rack.
Heat the oil to 300°. Scrub or peel the potatoes and cut into strips (I like mine on the small side). Place in a large bowl of cold water. Dry the potatoes by rolling in a kitchen towel and fry for 4 minutes, working in batches if need be. Turn the oil up to 375°. When hot fry the potatoes again until golden brown. Remove to the cooling rack and sprinkle with salt to taste.
Reduce the temperature of the oil to 350°. Season the breadcrumbs with Old Bay® or salt and pepper. Dry the shellfish a bit on a kitchen towel. Coat lightly with the corn starch, dip into the egg, and dredge in the breadcrumbs shaking off any excess. If you are using an assortment of shellfish do the smallest first. Fry until nicely browned and remove to the cooling rack in the oven. Repeat as needed.
The cocktail sauce
Mix ½ cup ketchup with 2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish or to taste, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce. Allow to rest for at least ½ hour.