This is a pretty basic recipe. The only part even remotely tricky is finding the "corn flour," which is not the same thing as corn starch! Corn flour is just finely ground corn meal. The easiest way to find some is in the "ethnic" aisle where you find Louisiana foods. It's called "fish fry," and if you look at the ingredients it's just corn flour. If you absolutely can't find any, just use more regular flour. It'll be fine.
1poundshucked clamscherrystones, littlenecks, or Western littlenecks or Manila clams
1cupcorn flour,as in "fish fry" mix
1teaspoonof freshly ground black pepper
1cupbuttermilk or evaporated milk
oil for frying
Pick through the clams to make sure there are no bits of shell or obvious grit. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Submerge the clams in buttermilk.
Preheat the oven to 200ºF and put a rack set over a baking sheet inside the oven. Heat enough oil to float the clams, about a quart or so. What oil? Anything you feel like, but I prefer peanut oil or, well... fresh lard. You want the oil hot, about 360ºF.
When the oil is almost ready, coat a few clams in the breading. Don't do more than your fryer can handle in one batch, as you want the clams to go right from breading into the fryer. If you want super-extra crispy clams, dip the breaded clams back in the buttermilk and again in the breading; I think this is too much, but some people like them that way.
Fry the clams until they are golden brown, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Move them to the rack in the oven and repeat with the remaining clams -- make sure the oil gets back up to temperature between batches. Serve with homemade tartar sauce, malt vinegar, remoulade, ketchup or hot sauce.
Fried clams almost have to be eaten with lemon wedges, potato salad, other fried things, maybe a lobster roll, and either beer or, if you feel all fancy, some white wine, maybe even Champagne.