These Asian Style Razor Clams are so easy to prepare and quick to cook. If you want to collect your own, you’ll also find some simple foraging advice for the humble Atlantic razor clam below.
Have you ever tried a razor clam? They are one of my absolute favourite seafoods, in fact I’d say they were in my top 3 (along with scallops & spider crab in case you were wondering). They are sweet, juicy and just a tiny bit salty.
Due to the speed with which they cook, they pair up so, so well with the light flavours of Asia. In my Asian Style Razor Clams recipe I’m using garlic, lemongrass, ginger, dried chilli flakes and lime. I also threw in spring onion and fresh coriander too, and that’s it.
They are funny looking things, especially once they are cooked, but try to see past that and you will be rewarded by one of the very finest tastes the oceans have to offer.
You can find the full recipe for my Asian style razor clams at the bottom of the page, but meanwhile here’s everything you didn’t know you needed to know about catching razor clams…
How to Catch an Atlantic Razor Clam
Before we begin I need to tell you that I’m not sharing my favourite clam bed location with the internet. However much you wail and beg. Not a chance. I love you and all that, but there is a limit to the stuff I share on here. Sorry ;)
Secondly, in the UK we get Atlantic razor clams (duh). Elsewhere in the world you get Pacific razor clams, here’s the difference:
Thirdly, you need to invest in the razor clammers essential weapon… a gigantic tub of salt.
OK, on a very low tide head down to the waters edge and keep a beady eye out for holes. In particular you’re after holes that are key hole shaped. Round holes are a waste of salt, it’s all about the keyholes baby.
When you think you’ve found one, pour a little table salt into said hole. And wait.
It can take seconds or up to a minute or two, but if you’re in luck you’ll soon be greeted by a rather grumpy razor clam. They’ll poke themselves out of their hole by about half of their body length.
Gently but firmly grab hold of the shell and hold on. Do not try to pull it out, just hold and wait. The key here, is patience. They are surprisingly strong. Slowly you’ll feel him start to let go, and at this point you can gently pull him out of the hole.
How do you clean a razor clam?
Pop them into a bucket and then top up with sea water. Ideally you want to leave them overnight in the sea water to purge them of sand and grit, but we have cooked them up straight away on the beach and you just have to remove the stomach sack (the black bit). Actually I remove the black bit anyway, purely because it doesn’t look very nice, but my friend and razor clam mentor Mark, purges them then happily snaffles the whole thing.
As always when foraging, only take what you can use. This bucket was collected between a group of us and nothing went to waste.
One final note, whenever you have this much fun on a beach with a tub of salt, you are going to attract a pretty interested crowd!
How to Cook Razor Clams
As with all bivalves, makes sure the shells are tightly closed before cooking. If they are open, give them a little tap with the handle of a knife to make sure they snap shut. Those that don’t shut must be thrown away as they are already dead and may cause food poisoning.
They can be cooked in the same way as mussels. Poaching, steaming or cooked directly on the embers of campfire. They are ready to eat moments after their shells reopen in the heat. Avoid overcooking as they’ll become tough and rubbery.
And if you have a good haul of razor clams and are looking for more inspiration in the kitchen, try these recipes out for size. Substitute the mussels in this Thai style broth for the same weight of razor clams. Or do the same in this recipe and pimp this moules frites into a clam frites!
And finally, here’s that long promised recipe…
Asian Style Razor Clams Recipe
- 5 razor clams shells scrubbed under cold water just before cooking
- 2 teaspoons of your favourite cooking oil
- 1/2 fresh lemongrass stick peeled, bashed with the back of a heavy knife & finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger root peeled & grated
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 pinch dried chilli flakes
- 1 spring onion
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander finely chopped
Heat the oil in a large, flat bottomed pan.
Add in the lemongrass, garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute to release the flavours. Do not let them burn.
Quickly place the clams in the hot pan and cover with a lid or a plate. The clams are still alive at this point so it is essential that you do this quickly to minimise their suffering.
After 1-2 minutes, shake the pan around and remove the lid.
The clams should all have opened and released a lot of juice into the pan. Spoon the juice over the top of the clams to get the flavour into the shells.
Sprinkle with the lime juice, chilli, spring onion and coriander and serve.