A recipe that hasn’t changed much over the years.
If you’re looking for a recipe that starts from a little further back in the process, here’s a version from 1847’s The Lady’s Receipt-Book; A Useful Companion For Large Or Small Families by Miss Eliza Leslie:
Clam Fritters.–Put a sufficient quantity of clams into a pot of boiling water. The small sand-clams will be best. When the shells open wide, take them out, extract the clams from the shells, and put them into a stew-pan. Strain their liquor, and pour about half of it over the clams; adding a little black pepper. They will require no salt. Let them stew, slowly, for half an hour; then take them out; drain off all the liquor; and mince the clams as fine as possible, omitting the hardest parts. You should have as many clams as will make a large pint when minced. Make a batter of seven eggs, beaten till very thick and light; and then mixed gradually with a quart of milk, and a pint of sifted flour, stirred in by degrees, and made perfectly smooth and free from lumps. Then, gradually, mix the minced calms with the batter, and stir the whole very hard. Have ready in a frying pan over the fire a sufficiency of boiling lard. Put in, with a spoon, the batter so as to form fritters, and fry them light brown. Drain them well when done, and serve them up hot.
Oyster fritters may be made as above; except that the oysters must be minced raw, and mixed into the batter without having been stewed.
From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
1 cup of clams
1 beaten egg
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. of flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Stir and drop into fry pan with little oil. Turn. Cooks quickly, in a few seconds. Will be crisp.