Nothing fancy, but plenty good about Smitty's Clam Bar

Posted: July 31, 2002

Seems like every time you go down the Jersey shore, you hear about a fancy new restaurant, the kind of place that sells wasabi-drizzled tuna carpaccio and hand-picked diver scallops with caviar mashed potatoes.

But for each gourmet bistro, there's an old standby where patrons wear shorts and T-shirts and eat a fried fish sandwich from paper basket.

Smitty's Clam Bar on Bay Avenue in Somers Point makes eating out a simple pleasure: a restaurant where you can order a fresh flounder sandwich - and never use a piece of silverware. Now that's fine shore dining.

FRIED FRESH FLOUNDER SANDWICH FROM SMITTY'S CLAM BAR

1 pound flounder filet, cut into 4 quarter-pound pieces

1 cup cracker meal

Black pepper, to taste

Fresh garlic, minced, to taste

Salt, to taste

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 hamburger buns

1/2 cup tartar sauce

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Use a paper towel to pat flounder filets dry. In a flat baking dish, combine cracker meal, pepper, garlic and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg and milk. Dredge filets in meal mixture, coating with meal on both sides.

Dip filets in milk and egg. Dredge filets back in meal mixture, coating both sides again. Place filets on a bakers rack, refrigerate for about half an hour (this makes the coating stick). In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil to medium high. To test that oil is ready for frying, dip an edge of one filet into oil. If it sizzles, it's ready. Carefully place filets in oil. Cook each side for about 3 minutes, or until brown. Remove filet from oil and drain on bakers rack. Spread tartar sauce on bottom half of bun. Place filet on top of tartar sauce. Top with romaine lettuce and bun. Makes four sandwiches. *

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