Sunday, July 12, 2009


Pacific Razor Clam
Pacific Razor Clam (Siliqua patula)

I was reminded yesterday of the irascible razor clam when I took leftover oyster/clam chowder out of the freezer for a quick meal. It was very tasty, but let me tell you, the chowder was a "rescue" dish.
Back in Long Beach, I went on a search for a local specialty, razor clams. I ended up getting them at a restaurant deli where the restaurant's chef told me there were only two ways to cook them, deep fried or pan fried. Since I don't have a deep fryer in the motorhome, nor like deep fried foods over much, she gave me precise instructions on how to pan fry them. Flour the clams, heat your oil very hot, and fry them for under a minute, don't overcook or scorch the flour. Easy!
These clams seem to be a local rage. Type Razor Clam into a search engine and you get lessons on how to dig them with a shovel or tube. You get pictures of what looks like a hundred people crowding a beach digging razor clams. They are popular; they have to be tasty. They can grow as large as 6 inches and live for 9 years. They influence the health of the ocean and are productive and charismatic citizens of the deep. Yup! Gotta have 'em.
That's it, folks. If you like greasy, tough, inedible rubber that is how you do it. We ended up chopping them fine, and putting them in the chowder with more edible companions. Rescue!
I love to cook. I like a challenge. My friends tell me I'm a good cook, but I'd never try them again. Well, maybe never!
I'm intrigued. Any success stories out there?


Anonymous said...

If you cook the clams too long it becomes tough. You pretty much need to flash fry them in thin slices. I used the "foot" of the clam, breaded with herbed panko/bread crumbs and on med oil. But since you mentioned you didn't like greasy, then I quickly heated the clam juice till it was hot, then turned it off. Quickly added the super fine pieces from the body of the clams with basil leaves, butter and garlic and tossed it with pasta.

Anonymous said...

What to do with razor clams: Reserve the diggers only for frying, reserve the necks and bodies for chowder.

To fry the diggers (pre-split during cleaning), dredge them in seasoned flour, then beaten egg with a little added water, then in crushed cracker crumbs. Fry in shallow medium oil for one minute each side. Drain on brown paper bag and eat right away -- delectable!

When using razor clams in chowder (the best!), chop them fine while still icy from the freezer, then add them as the last ingredient and turn off the heat. Do not boil!

Experienced Clamdigger Chris