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Fry a fresh batch of Rhode Island's famous clam cakes and renew your love for this beautiful bivalve.

A masterful street food, Rhode Island clam fritters (aka clam cakes) aren’t cakes at all — the best are briny Southern hush puppies. Think clam beignet: crispy and golden brown on the outside, pillowy and light inside, with savory bits of chewy minced clams and steam rising from the first bite. I was introduced to them as a counter girl at the Kool Kone in Wareham on Route 6, a tired, narrow strip of road that once was the main drag from New York to Cape Cod. (“Is this the way to Wareham?” the old yaw goes. “I don’t know, ma’am, but they look all right to me.”)

My first week on the job, making an ice cream sundae, I spilled a gallon bucket of walnuts on the filthy floor. In tears, I apologized to my bosses, an elderly couple who worked like dogs all summer (he was the jokester at the fryolator, she was the bad cop at the window tending the girls), then packed up their motor home and drove to Florida for the winter. “Don’t worry,” she said, chewing spearmint gum between her front teeth. “You’ll rinse them, dry them off, and put them back in the bucket.”

Serve the clam cakes with Tabasco sauce, lemon, and tartar or remoulade sauce. They refry well the next day, too: Just pop them in hot oil for a minute or two.

Reprinted with permission from Fresh Fish