We ceratinly had a lot of pizza during our recent vacation to Connecticut. I like to call our vacation: The East Coast Pizza Tour. But we also had our fair share of seafood. As a matter of fact, Kamalei, our three year old, had her first taste of lobster. She loved it! Now we have two lobster girls in the family.
Southeastern Connecticut is known for the abundance of fresh seafood. The seafood can be fairly inexpensive, if you know where to look. You can visit lobster wholesalers and get fresh lobster's "right off the boat" at below market price.
One of my favorite places to visit is Ford's Lobster's located in Noank. Actually a wonderful shot of Ford's is featured in the movie Mystic Pizza, with Julia Roberts.
Mystic is just a few minutes away.
If you don't want to cook the lobster's yourself, you can visit Abbot's, just a few blocks down the road. Abbot's offers incredible seafood. Make sure you order a "lobster roll", which is a hotdog bun filled with fresh hot lobster served with melted butter.
My love affair with clams started before I could talk. I love clams in every way: raw clams on the half shell, clams in chowder, stuffed clams, clam fritters but my favorite is fried clams. Now these are not srtip clams mind you, these are whole clams fried up with the "bellies" on them.
Clams come in several different varieties. The lager hardshell clams, or quahogs are used for chowder. Some of these shells were made into beads by the local Indians. This was called wampum and was used as money. Generally, the quahog is what is used as a topping for pizza.
Smaller hardshell clams are known as cherrystones or little necks. These clams can be eaten right out of the shell raw with a little lemon or cocktail sauce. My brothers and I have spent countless hours with clam rakes harvesting this tasty fruit of the sea. (We always got our clam permits first. We did not want to get in any trouble with the Clam Commissioner!)
Fried clams are different than quahogs or cherrystones, however. Most people do not even know what fried clams are. They are made from softshell clams. Generally these clams are eaten steamed and are known as steamers. Steamers can be served with a bowl of clam broth and melted butter. You pull off the covering of the clam's foot, wash the clam in some broth and then dip in melted butter.
Fried clams are made from deep fried softshell clams, with the "bellies on them". If you ever get a chance to go to the coast of New England, go to a local clam shack and order up a plate of fried clams! You will not be dissappointed.
Here is a list of my favorite clam shacks in Southeastern Connecticut. In Mystic, I like The Cove and the Sea Swirl. In Noank, I like Abbot's sister store, called, (what else) Costello's. In New London, I like Captain Scott's, which is hard to find but located right on the water. In East Lyme, I enjoy Dad's. Moving down the coast to Saybrook, I really like Johnny Ad's. We also spent quite a bit of time this summer at, Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale located in Madison.
Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale, deserve a special mention, here. First, their seafood is fresh and top notch. Second they have have a "flying" carousel or merry-go-round. Every cent collected from the carousel rides is donated to charity. Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale really gives back to the local community. As you can imagine, Kamalei, rode the carousel numerous times.
So the next time you find yourself on the New England coast: you gotta try the fried clams!