Hello, Sailor Clam Roll

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Jonathan Boncek

recipe heading-plus-icon


Makes 8 clam rolls


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 batch little neck clam en brodo (recipe follows)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 milk bread benne seed buns, toasted (recipe follows or any split-top bun)
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce chiffonade
  • Crab roe aioli (recipe follows)
  • Herb salad (recipe follows)
  1. Add flour to a medium bowl and set aside. To another medium bowl, add buttermilk and clam meat, tossing to coat evenly. Remove clams from buttermilk and place in flour, tossing to coat evenly. Using a sifter, shake excess flour from clams.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot or fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry clams for 1 to 2 minutes, until crispy. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To assemble: On bottom of each bun, layer ¼ cup iceberg lettuce. Top with 12 to 13 clams, drizzle with crab roe aioli, and garnish with herb salad.

Littleneck Clams en Brodo

1 bag 100-count littleneck clams
¼ cup olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
12 garlic cloves, smashed
1½ tablespoons tarragon
1½ tablespoons thyme
1 cup white wine

  1. Place clams in a large bowl and rinse under cold water for 30 minutes. Pull clams from water (so any sand remains at bottom of bowl) and place in a separate bowl.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil for 2 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and sweat for 4 minutes. Add clams and cook for 2 minutes. Add tarragon, thyme, and wine, cover with lid, and steam until all the clams have opened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Pour clams into a colander with large bowl underneath and let drain for 5 minutes, catching liquid in bowl. Reserve liquid for crab roe aioli.
  4. Place clams in a large container and let chill in refrigerator until cold. Pick clam meat from shell and set aside. Discard shallots, garlic, and herbs.

Milk Bread Benne Seed Buns

461 grams bread flour, divided
154 grams cold water
167 grams heavy cream
68 grams honey
2 eggs, divided
22 grams fresh yeast
12 grams salt
9 grams milk powder
37 grams butter, softened
8 grams benne seeds (Kindred uses Marsh Hen Mill)
8 ounces melted butter

  1. Make a tangzhong by whisking together 31 grams of the flour with cold water over medium heat until a thick gel forms. Allow to cool to at least 90 degrees, then add the cream.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with dough hook, add tangzhong, honey, 1 egg, and yeast, then add salt and milk powder on top. Mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix 8 minutes. Then, with mixer still on, add butter and mix until incorporated.
  3. Place dough in a greased container, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, cut into 120-gram sections, and shape into logs. Place rolls side-by-side on a sprayed baking sheet and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Mix an egg wash (with remaining egg, a splash of water, and pinch of salt) and brush over buns. Evenly sprinkle benne seeds over tops of buns. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes, rotate, and bake another 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. To prepare for clam rolls, use a bread knife to trim ¼-inch from long sides of each of the benne seed buns (making them look like a hotdog bun). Split the tops of buns about halfway down. Brush cut sides of buns with melted butter. In a medium pan over medium-low heat, toast buns on both sides until golden brown. Set aside.

Crab Roe Aioli

4 egg yolks
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons water
4½ lemons
1 garlic clove
4 cups canola oil
4 tablespoons crab roe
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons togarashi spice

  1. In a food processor, blend for 20 seconds yolks, salt, water, juice of 1 lemon, and garlic. With processor still on, stream in oil slowly until combined. Aioli should be the consistency of a loose mayonnaise. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of reserved littleneck clam liquid (see above), or cool water.
  2. Transfer aioli to a large mixing bowl and add crab roe, soy sauce, zest of 3 lemons, juice of 3½ lemons, and togarashi spice. Stir to combine.
  3. Place aioli in a squeeze bottle or sealed container. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Herb Salad

¼ cup anise hyssop
¼ cup tarragon
¼ cup dill
¼ cup cilantro
Olive oil
Fleur de sel

Remove herbs from stems and mix together in a small bowl, tossing with a touch of oil and pinch of fleur de sel. Set aside.

  • From Joe Kindred, Hello, Sailor in Lake Norman, North Carolina

Leave a Reply

Be the first to comment.