Cooking Razor Clams
I absolutely love Pan-Fried Razor Clams! Ever since I first tasted them as a young girl, I can not get enough of them. My family’s preferred way of cooking Razor Clams is Pan-Fried Razor Clams. This is because sweet, tender razor clams must be cooked quickly. If cooked too long, they will be tough!
One of our greatest delights when I was young, was to go the Oregon coast to visit my grandparents and to help dig Razor Clams with my Grandpa Myers. We would put our boots on and carry a bucket and a clam shovel. My job was to look for the small holes (called dimples) in the damp sand. When I found one, I would yell over to grandpa. He would shovel as fast as he could to get the clam while I watched. He would shovel until we pulled out a clam about 3 or 4 inches across. You need to be quick when digging in the surf as razor clams dig quite fast in the soft fluid sand.
The Razor Clam (Siliqua patula), named because their shells are razor sharp, are found on sandy Pacific ocean beaches from California to Alaska. The long, narrow shell may attain a length greater than 7 inches at maturity. When the Razor Clams are in season, you can get fresh razor clams by digging them yourself or at your local fish market. Razor Clams are usually dug in the shallow surf and are found in the sand by the hole left on the sand’s surface as the clam’s neck is withdrawn. Clams are dug with special narrow-bladed clam shovels.
Northwest Pan-Fried Razor Clam Recipe I:
Northwest Pan-Fried Razor Clam Recipe II:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 eggs, beaten
1 (3.25-ounce package) Panko (Japanese-style crumbs), approximately 2 1/4 cups
1 pound medium-size cleaned fresh or frozen razor clams*
1 cup vegetable oil
* If the clams are frozen, thaw them in a colander in the sink so they will not be sitting in water as they thaw (if you don’t drain them as they thaw, they will be tough).
Place the flour in a pie pan and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs in a second pie pan and place the Panko crumbs in a third pie pan.
Dry the clams thoroughly with a paper towel. NOTE: If you proceed without the clams being dry, breading will not adhere to the clams well, and wet clams steaks will result in LOTS of splattering of the hot oil.
Tenderize clams by pounding with the textured side of a meat mallet – pay particular attention to the tough siphon end. NOTE: Be careful, as you want the clams to remain in one piece.
Dredge a clam in the flour mixture, dip in beaten egg, then coat both sides with Panko crumbs. Place breaded clam on a rack or plate; repeat process with remaining clams. Let clams stand for 20 to 30 minutes for the breading set up.
While the clams are resting, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan cast-iron pan is ideal) over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Heat the oil (but not so hot as to smoke).
When the oil is hot, use tongs or a spatula to carefully add the clams. Do not crowd the clams. Fry for not more than 30 seconds, then flip the clams for continue cooking for an additional 30 second on the other side. NOTE: It is important not to overcook the clams or they will be tough.
Allow the oil to heat back up in between each round of cooking your clams.
Remove the clams from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until all clams are cooked and serve as soon as possible while warm. Serve Pan-Fried Razor Clams with lemon slices and your favorite Cocktail Sauce or Tartar Sauce.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
When breading and frying fresh Razor Clams, here are some tricks to keep in mind:
Your Razor clams must be properly cleaned before frying them. If you are lucky enough to go to the beach and dig your own clams, check out this great web site and Learn how to clean fresh razor clams.
Start by patting the meat dry. Lay your clean clams on top of a few sheets of paper towels to remove the moisture on the clams; pat dry with your hands. If you don’t remove the moisture, the breading will not adhere to the clams well, and the wet clams will result in lots of splattering of the hot oil you are cooking them in.
To pound or not to pound to tenderize! Razor clams are a seafood that can be succulent and tender or like industrial-strength rubber bands, depending on how you handle and cook them. I usually pound them. Be careful, though; you want them to remain in one piece. If pounding, lay them between plastic wrap and let them have it with a meat tenderizer.
Clear your counter top and set out three (3) plates containing the following ingredients in the order listed: (1) flour, (2) beaten egg, (3) bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, plus a rack or plate to hold the breaded meat.
Place the cleaned and patted dry clams in the four/cracker mixture; turn with your hand or a fork to coat it.
Pick up the meat with the other hand and place it in the beaten egg. Using the same hand (consider it your wet hand) to turn the meat and coat it with egg. Then pull it out and lay the egg-coated meat on top of the bread or cracker crumbs. Use your dry hand or fork to pat the crumbs on. Shake off any excess crumbs and set the meat on the final plate or rack.
When everything is breaded, let it rest on the counter or in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. This helps the coating dry out and adhere better.