Marvelous Clams & Sauce in Marvelous May

Written By: Paulette Kenyon, July 31, 2012

This is a great time of year! Eric has been coming home with tasty shellfish treats. We’re having great weather and fishing at the same time, kids are still in school (less jet skis and boom boxes at the lakes), turkeys are strutting and putting on their shows, and there’s wildflowers everywhere except at higher elevations. Apart from allergies, what’s there not to love about May?

Eric has brought home clams, abalone, mussels, and salmon this month. Salmon fishing heated up for a while in Santa Cruz; now, that pod is probably at Half Moon Bay, where the waters are a little more turbulent for our small boat. But, that’s okay; the season is not over; and, there will be more; just have to be patient…I went with him on a camping trip to New Hogan for a weekend; and, last weekend, we visited Del Valle for a day. 

New Hogan was relatively peaceful and enjoyable except for some dude in a motorized hang glider thingy that sounded like a dirt bike in the sky. I was thinking,” what’s up with this guy? Is he in love with us or something? Please go away!“

One of those planes was featured on that Sea Shepherd show on TV. They were using it to find pilot whales before the people who live on the Faroe Islands spirited the whales into an inlet to butcher them. 

In the Faroe Islands, they broadcast a recording of a baby whale in distress to attract the pilot whale pod to the inlets to be killed. So, this is their reward for caring about what happens to their young. 

I wonder…. Will this eventually lead to the surviving pilot whale stock who either can’t hear or who could care less what happens to the babies? Will only the hard hearted pilot whales survive? 

I’m afraid this is already happening or happened to humankind; that the more gentle, sensitive souls who once communed with nature are going extinct or already are. One of my hopes is that since outdoors people often are the ones who notice what is there and what isn’t, that we will begin to jump up and down when things aren’t right. I know many Native Americans are doing that now. 

Who decides what is helping and what is hurting our world? In the end, it’s a personal decision, hopefully made by independent minds dependent on plain common sense lead by collective self interest which includes the whole earth and all its creatures. 

It is my hope that most of us base what we do not by some predigested ideology handed out to sheeple by wolves disguised like sheep; but, that our hearts and minds are like the flowers of Spring, nourished by individual conscience and character that is always there and is by its very nature a free entity – perfect and true, if only we would trust it.

And this, strangely enough, reminds me of my cocktail sauce that I make for use with clams or for shrimp cocktails, etc. I have my own recipe that I created from my own taste buds and wondering what others put in their cocktails sauces that I liked or didn’t. Tony keeps trying to make my sauce; but, he leaves out the most important ingredient – sweet Paprika. Maybe it’s my Hungarian genetics; but, I decided that cocktail sauce needed paprika; and, it’s true. So, today I’m showing my easy recipe for clams & cocktail sauce. 

All this fish and other wild game we’ve had the past month has inspired me to create at least 3 other recipes this month. Better write them down before I forget. That’s what is nice about writing this column; it forces me to write down my new recipes that I dream up. Anyway, the recipe for cocktail sauce is not only good for dipping sauce with clams; but, it’s also good used for shrimp or crab cocktails.


Fried Clams & Simply Marvelous Cocktail Sauce

Fresh clam strips

Progresso Herb & Garlic breadcrumbs

Plain breadcrumbs (homemade or readymade, like Progresso)

Dash of paprika


Light olive oil or other cooking oil

1 Cup Organic catsup (most organic ones are better tasting than the usuals & better 4 U)

1 heaping tablespoon Horseradish

1-1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (Hungarian is best; but, avoid the hot or smoky paprika)

1-1/2 tsp. juice from a Meyers lemon (or you can leave it out; not that important)

Combine the plain with the flavored breadcrumbs; so, it isn’t as strong tasting. If you don’t have Progresso, just add some salt, pepper, & favorite seasonings to the breadcrumbs. If you don’t have or like breadcrumbs, you can pulverize soda crackers and use crackermeal. If you are on a gluten free diet, they have gluten free crumbs or you can make them. I like the tapioca bread for making into Melba toast and then into breadcrumbs. 

Don’t overcook gluten free toast or you will break your food processor (been there; done that). Anyway. Getting back to the breading… I like to add my favorite – paprika – to give the breading a little more color and flavor. I either add some to the breadcrumbs or after they are breaded and sitting, I fly over the strips like that little plane and sprinkle paprika over the tops. Next, beat the egg or eggs (depending on how much you are cooking). Dip the clam strips in the egg, let the egg drip off, then, dredge the clams in the breadcrumbs. Place the strips on big sheets of wax paper or cookie sheets with wax paper on them to let the crumbs set while you make the cocktail sauce and heat up the oil.

This is for a little over a cup of cocktail sauce. If you need more, then, just add more of everything. You can adjust the ingredients to your taste or what looks good to your eyes & your sense of texture. The horseradish has to be stirred in good before you can really tell what it’s going to do to the catsup. 

At first, it looks pretty ugly when you first start stirring it in; but, once it’s good and stirred in, you want it to give the catsup some body and flavor; but, not be overpowering. The same goes with the paprika and the lemon. In my opinion, If you don’t have a really sweet lemon, like a Meyers, why ruin the taste with a bitter Eureka lemon. In that case, I leave it out. Stir all the ingredients together and you have a great dipping sauce.

Heat up a deep fryer or a deep pan (electric skillets are great for this) with at least an inch of oil (if you are using a skillet) and heat oil to high. Carefully drop in the strips and brown until golden on both sides (should only take a minute or two). Do this until you are done and then drain them on paper towels and serve with the cocktail sauce. This is good with asparagus, a nice salad, and/or some French fries.

If you have any questions, comments, cooking tips or recipes to share, feel free to write to me at “Cookin’ Yer Catch” or Paulette; c/o The Fish Sniffer; PO Box 776; Colfax; 95713-0776 or email me at

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