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December 15, 2008 at 9:15 AM

On the beach: Razor clams. How do you like yours?

Love razor clams? ‘Tis the season, writes Seattle Times’ Lynda Mapes — who got down and dirty with some clammers during the short razor clam season, out on the beach in Grays Harbor County. I’m nuts for those clams, and watching this video reminded me of the last time I went razor-clamming 20-some years ago in Alaska:

What I recall most about that frozen foray — besides the chowder my friends Mary and K.T. Bannister and I made later that day — was my freezing fingers, and the moose that ambled by as we were steadying our clam-guns to suck those succulents out of the muck (rest assured that our young-lady-fingers were a bit prettier than this guy’s):

photo by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

In the video, you can hear one happy clammer talking about his fresh catch, noting “You can’t get ’em this tasty in the restaurant.” I don’t know where he’s been eating, but I’d have to beg to differ. Some dozen-or-so years ago, Mac and I ate at Lampreia and ordered an appetizer of fresh razor clams, simply pan-seared in butter. Mention the words “razor clams” to us today, and it never fails: One of us will say, “Man, remember those clams Scott made?” — as if either of us could ever forget them.

Occasionally since then, when we find fresh razor clams at our local seafood counter, we’ll treat ourselves to some. Even at the “sale” price of $14.99/pound, those are cheaper than buying a clam-gun and a shellfish license and driving to the coast. Though nowhere near as much fun. Then I valiantly try to recreate Scotty Carsberg’s version, dusting the clams in flour and pan-searing them quickly, over high heat, in butter. Lord.

As for razor clam chowder, you haven’t lived till you’ve tasted the stuff at the Steelhead Diner, where Kevin Davis recently served me a bowl sweetened with Yakima corn, apple-smoked bacon and a wisp of truffle oil. Those clams were from Alaska and who knows? Maybe they came from the beach where I spotted that moose.

So tell me: Have you ever been razor clamming? What did you get? Where did you get it? How did you cook them? And have you, uh, dug any razor clams in restaurants in or around Seattle?

Comments | More in Cooking, Restaurants | Topics: Fun stuff

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