Seafood of the Week – Pacific Razor Clam

July 15, 2014 at 5:35 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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A live Pacific razor clam in water

A live Pacific razor clam in water

The Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is a species of large edible marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pharidae.


Pacific razor clams can be found along the Pacific West Coast from the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Pismo Beach, California. They inhabit sandy beaches in the intertidal zone down to a maximum depth of about 30 feet (9.1 m).

This species has an elongated oblong narrow shell, which ranges from 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15.2 cm) in length in the southern portion of its range, with individuals up to 11 inches (28 cm) found in Alaska. It is similar to the smaller Atlantic razor clam, Siliqua costata, which is found on the East Coast of the United States. Another eastern species in the same family is sometimes also called a razor clam: Ensis directus, but this is in a different genus, is not very similar, and is also known as the Atlantic jackknife clam.

Pacific razor clams are highly desirable and edible, collected both commercially and by recreational harvesters. Razor clams, like other shellfish, may sometimes accumulate dangerous levels of domoic acid, a marine toxin. Harvesters should be sure to check current public health recommendations before collecting razor clams. Razor clams are commonly battered and fried in butter, or made into a clam chowder.

Razor Clam harvesting is typically authorized by state officials several times a year. Harvesters locate the clam by looking for a “show,” which can present as either a hole or depression in the sand. Some razors expose their necks while the surf has receded, making them far easier to spot; some locals refer to these colloquially as Pollom Clams.





Some Cooking Tips for Razor Clams from What’s Cooking America (
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.

To pound or not to pound! 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

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.

First clear your countertop 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.

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