Grilled Razor Clams on Crack Recipe

You're a lucky one if you get your hands on some fresh razor clams, so make sure to treat yourself by adding them to your pastas, your salads, and everything you can think of. Add a little bacon to that, and you've just entered heaven. Use this razor clam recipe to garnish and top your dishes. You'll be feeling like you've got a bowl of lucky charms!

Serves as a topping for pastas and salads
Yields 4 portions

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb razor clams
  • 1/2 lb Applewood smoked bacon, cut into lardons (matchsticks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • 4 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • Ample cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large sauté pan, slowly render the bacon lardons over medium heat. About halfway through crisping the bacon, add the garlic, making sure it does not burn. Once the bacon is browned, carefully add the vermouth. Simmer the mixture, reducing the liquid by a half, and then remove from heat.

Carefully arrange the razor clams on top of the bacon, and place the zest and thyme among the shells. Place entire pan on a medium-high grill and cover the lid. In about 6-10 minutes, the clams should be open. Remove the pan from the heat, and set the clams apart from the bacon mixture. Remove the meats from the shells and chop into large chunks. Stir the clam meats back into the bacon, and season with black pepper and lemon juice.

Use the mixture to top pasta with fresh herbs, use as vinaigrette for a hearty green salad, or use as an hors d’oeuvre on top of a crostini.

Spanish Stuffed Stouts Recipe

Stout razors are the cousins of the Atlantic jackknife razor. They're a by-catch from steamer beds, so they're typically available if steamers are available. Since they live in the mud flats, we make sure to give them a good purge. Their meats are sweet, tender, and in our opinion, more delicate than jackknife razors. They're cute and stubby, so give them a try with this paella-inspired recipe!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb purged stout razors
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 onion, small dice, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided ¼ cup basmati rice or other short grain white rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/8 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/8 cup dried or cooked chorizo, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and chili pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and half the onion, with a pinch of salt, and soften. Add the razor clams, coat in the oil, and then pour the sherry to steam them open. (The razor clams will not automatically open like other clams – they are par-cooked when the two siphons stick out from the side). Remove par-cooked clams from the pot and set aside to cool. Reserve the liquid from the clams and strain. This will be the liquid for cooking the rice.

Pull the clam meat from the shells, saving the shells that are still attached in a pair and not broken. Slice the clams on a bias, about a ½ inch wide. The whole clam meat may be used. Place in a cool environment so the clams do not continue to cook.

In a small sauce pot, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the remaining onion, a pinch of salt and soften. Add the rice and coat evenly with oil, warming it slightly. Add the clam liquid, stir, and if there is not enough liquid to cover the rice, add water to cover. Add the saffron and stir once more. Cook the rice until soft, overdone is preferred. Once the rice is cooked, set aside to let it cool slightly.

In a large bowl, add the rice, clams, 1 tbsp of parsley, peas, chorizo, a splash of lemon juice, and a pinch of chili powder. Stir to combine, and season to taste.

Arrange the shells on a baking sheet with crumpled foil (to make sure the shells do not roll around) and fill with the rice mixture. Broil for about three minutes, or until the tops of the rice mounds are slightly crispy and golden. Serve immediately with lemon and more parsley.

When Are Razor Clams Available and How To Check the Tides

Many of our customers ask, "Do you have any razor clams available today?"

The short answer is, it depends on the tide. Lori explains, "[Harvesters] actually shove their hands into the mud just to grab the clams and do them one by one. So it's a little bit of an arduous task. The tides do have to be either negative or particularly low, and they have to fall in daylight hours."

Customers can check when razor clams may become available by looking at tide charts. US Harbors has a great site that covers tide charts all along the US coasts. Here is an example of a tide chart:

Example of a tide chart from USHarbors.com showing tide schedule in Cape Cod Canal, East Sandwich.

Example of a tide chart from USHarbors.com showing tide schedule in Cape Cod Canal, East Sandwich.

What To Look for in the Tide Chart

To identify potential razor clam harvest times, check for 0.0 to negative tides under the "Low" column. Then, see the corresponding times and make sure they are within daylight hours outlined under the columns with the sun.

Remember, it takes diggers some time to harvest these bad boys, so one hour before sunset will not be enough time. A good example of potential razor clam availability is December 6-8, Fri - Sun. You can see on the chart that these tides are negative, low tide is after sunrise, and there is plenty of time before sunset to give the harvesters time to dig.

But there are also other considerations besides the tide!

Weather conditions tend to be the primary culprit. Sometimes it can be too windy or there may be an impending storm that will change the optimal time for harvesting. It can be a bit unpredictable, so we HIGHLY recommend to our customers to use razor clams as a special rather than an everyday menu item due to irregular supply.

Make sure to check the location of the tide charts because every area has a different tide schedule. If you want to learn more, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has a great article that explains the process and terminology.

Think you got what it takes to harvest your own? Watch this man dig!

Source: The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and The Seattle Times