Friday, March 9, 2012

The Sharpest Clam In The Bunch

When shopping for clams it is easy to get overwhelmed with the many varieties presented before you, from cockles to manilas to littlenecks to quahogs, there are always options.  There is one clam though that is sharper than the rest and though it is not always available on the East Coast, even when it is, it often gets overlooked.  That mysterious, oddly shaped clam - the razor clam - can intimidate most with it's sharp edges and long tubular shape.  It is easy to understand why this might happen, it looks nothing like it's brethren clams.  Usually you will see a siphon peeking out and retreating back into it's shell once touched.  When your food moves it can scare off the most adventurous of home-chefs.  But don't let that lively razor clam scare you from a great meal, you could just be missing out on your new favorite clam.

Razor clams are harvested from shores on both the East and West Coasts.  They are located at low tide by tiny holes dotting the shoreline.   Razors have a tendency to vanish quickly when disturbed, so if you are digging with your shovel or clam gun, be sure to get on those holes as quickly and quietly as possible.  The great thing about getting them in a market is that someone has already done the hard work for you.

Cooking Razors is not as complicated as you might think.  You can prepare them at home the same way you would regular clams and mussels.  A very simple way is to steam them in oil, butter, and white wine.  It only takes a few minutes for them to open up and they offer much more meat than a littleneck or mussel.   Razors are very tasty clams; they are meaty, delicate, and full of that sweet clam and ocean flavor that people crave - you just get more of it!  If you are looking to clean them and prepare them fried there are many websites offering instructions, such as the video site at the bottom.  In Spain Razors are a delicacy and are often grilled on La Plancha.  So the next time you are in the market for clams do not overlook these tasty, hard to find delights.  They just might become your new favorite clam.

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