Over the past couple of months, my small Bedstuy kitchen has seen everything from steamed clams to baked mussels to freshly shucked oysters. As anyone who knows me can attest, I’m always up for a challenge and lately this has come in the way of adventures under the sea. So this past weekend, when I had the opportunity to get razor clams from the Mermaid’s Garden CSF, I took it.
I wasn’t very familiar with razor clams – I’ve had them once at the John Dory (adding to my recent declaration of love for April Bloomfield, this was one of the best dishes I’ve had at a restaurant), but that’s the extent of my knowledge.
These clams look nothing like the clams I figure most people are familiar with. Instead of small and round, they’re long (similar to an old fashioned straight razor… hence where they get their name) and have very sharp shells. Furthermore, as opposed to other clams, their shells don’t close and its body (or the meat) will sometimes hang out of the shells. *This went against everything I thought I knew about mussels and clams and the old advice if a bivalve doesn’t close on its own or is cracked, its dead/not good to eat.
To prepare them, keep the razor clams in a bowl of cold water. They should spit out any sand so a good rinse is in order. For most of the preparations I saw online, you have to first remove the clams from the shell. You can cut the connective muscles with a pair of scissors to which the shell should open or… Boil the clams for thirty seconds to a minute after which the shells will open. Transfer the clams to a bowl of cold water and separate the bodies from the shells.
Their bodies are so weird looking! Once removed from the shells, you have to remove the “casing” and snip the body off. I’m sure there’s actually terms for these anatomical features but I’m not a clam connoisseur. Once cleaned, you’re ready for any recipe!
While fried razor clams or ceviches are quite popular, I chose to go with Baked Razor Clams! For this, I gave the clams a rough chop and add the pieces to the shells. Top with a mixture of toasted breadcrumbs and sautéed diced jalapeno and garlic. Bake for about 3 minutes under the broiler.
And there you have it, an easy razor clam appetizer. If you have the chance to try them, I recommend it. I’m not usually a big fan of clams but these are delicious!
- 12 razor clams, about 1 pound, rinsed and scrubbed
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- ½ cup dry bread crumbs
- Black pepper
- Boil the clams for thirty seconds to a minute after which the shells will open.
- Transfer the clams to a bowl of cold water and separate the bodies from the shells. Discard any gritty dark parts and a half-inch of the dark, hard siphon. Reserve the clam meat and shells.
- Pour oil into 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, sauté until softened. Stir in bread crumbs. Sauté, stirring, until bread crumbs are uniformly moistened with oil and starting to color. Season generously with pepper. Remove from heat.
- Using a teaspoon, cover each clam with bread crumb mixture, patting it on with the back of the spoon.
- Place clams on baking sheet and bake for about 3 minutes under the broiler.