The Weird & Wonderful Razor Clam!

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

A rare and unusual treat that we love have been popping up lately— Razor Clams from Ipswich on Cape Cod. With a long shell shaped like a straight razor and a foot that’s as long as its body, it’s one weird looking critter.

razor clams-1

These clams are not easy to catch. Hunting for them at low tide, you look for a keyhole shaped opening in the sand and you know a Razor Clam is hiding below. Getting them out is another story, they are incredibly fast, faster than a human’s ability to keep up with them. One tricky way to catch them is to pour salt into their hole—they don’t like that. When they pop up to escape the salt you can nab it.

Besides being super-fast burrowers, they’re also amazingly good swimmers. At high tide they come out and swim around. They distend their foot in and out, flap their shell and move along quite beautifully, feeding often near the surface.

Some of the reasons that these clams are rare at market is because harvesting is difficult and they are very brittle, fragile, don’t travel well and are very perishable. Our razor clam supplier gives us a heads-up whenever they have them but unfortunately that is not often enough. If you ever see these clams on our ice you’ve got to try them! Sweet and tender they are one of our finest clams (when we can get our hands on them). Steam them in white wine, garlic and parsley or spoon them out of the shell, dust in seasoned flour and sautée or fry. In Japan they are grilled on a habachi basted with soy sauce. We grilled some Japanese style the other night and we also basted some with olive oil and garlic. Both styles were amazing. Here’s a recipe.

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3 Responses to “The Weird & Wonderful Razor Clam!

  • Bruce G
    4 years ago

    Hi Mike!
    Everything you said is true. I dig clams when the flats open in front of my house at the end of November, and I usually get maybe 1 or two razors to 40 softshells. They are also difficult because they are at the extreme low end of the inter-tidal, so time is limited. Waiting for a really low tide is a way to get the most. Our clam warden told me about the salt trick and then told me not to do it! Got any recipes for surf clams?

    • mm
      Monahan's Seafood
      4 years ago

      Good to hear from you Bruce! Wish I was out there clamming with you. Curious why the clam warden said not to use the salt. Is it harmful to the clam if they’re not caught? Look for our recipes for stuffed clams and red clam sauce where you can use surf clams.

      • Bruce Gillett
        4 years ago

        I have no idea why he said not to use salt. I suspect that he’s just a big goofy rural Mainer who isn’t used to intelligent conversations. The bigness is vital to thwart the rough element.

        Our old friend Walter is on the streets in Philly going head to head with Trumpers trying to sabotage the count. Tom has added his musical talents to Biden’s advantage.

        We have an ocean view apartment (two bedrooms) available for friends for free, so keep that in mind if you happen to be in the area. We used to have an airbnb listing for it but a nasty neighbor got us shut down. The town says it can still be occupied, just not rented on line, so c’mon by!

        Please don’t approve this as a comment on the website! Bruce

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