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In Season in Spring:  Razor Clams


Jump to:-    Buying & Storing Razor Clams  |  Preparing and cooking Live Razor Clams  |  Editor's Choice Top 3  Spring Razor Clam Recipes


See also:    Spring Cooking and Recipes

Although razor clams are thankfully becoming more available in the UK, at present they still only seem to be found in really good or upmarket fishmongers or markets.


A coastal shellfish  found in the sand of the intertidal coastal beaches, they have long thin shells which resemble cut-throat razors (hence the name) and are a wonderful seafood with a texture similar to squid and the sweetness of scallops.   In our opinion, well worth going out of your way for if you are a seafood lover.


Buying and storing fresh Razor Clams


Razor clams can be bought pre-cleaned and shelled but it is preferable to purchase them live in their shells and to prepare them yourself. When buying live razor clams,  you will often notice that some of the clams will be poking out of their shells, retracting when picked up. Looks a bit weird at first but it's the only way to guarantee freshness and that they are alive. If bought already prepared (dead) they should smell of the seaside but not very fishy.

It is always best to use razor clams the day you obtain them but if you have to keep them, wrap in a damp tea towel and put them at the bottom of the fridge. Never soak razor clams in water for any length of time as it can kill them. 

Usually sold in bundles, in general  allow 6 -8 razor clams per person for a main course or 3-4 for a starter.




Preparing and Cooking Live Razor Clams


You can either remove razor clams from the shells to prepare them before you cook them or just wash well, cook them live then remove from the shells to trim/clean them which is not only the easiest method, but the one which guarantees that the razor clams were alive as the cooking process will make the shells open, similar to mussels.

Soak the razor clams in cold fresh water for 30 - 45 minutes only which will help get rid of any sand or grit after which time give them a good wash under cold running water.


Place them in a single layer on a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes turning once. Alternatively, place in a large pan with a small amount of liquid - water, wine, stock - cover with a tight fitting lid, bring to the boil then steam for 2-3 minutes. As mentioned above, the shells should open. Discard any which don't.

As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the long, white clam from the shell and cut off  the digger (the dark bit at one end) as it will probably still contain grit and doesn't make good eating. You can also snip the clam open lengthways to check for sand  but this shouldn't be necessary.  The razor clam is now ready to use in recipes or if you just want to cook them simply to serve with as vinaigrette or other sauce, or to prepare for breading and frying,  bear in mind they only extra 3 minutes cooking so they don't get too rubbery.


Editor's Choice:  Top 3 Spring Season Razor Clams Recipes


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Razor Clams in White Wine

As razor clams can be quite expensive, here's an simple starter which won't break the bank.  It's easy to prepare and ready to serve in about 20 minutes. A classic mix of flavours which are bound to please.




Razor Clams with Pancetta & Wild Garlic

Here's another starter which makes use of another spring season ingredient - Wild Garlic leaves. If you can't get hold of them, it works quite well with spinach.




Chilli Grilled Razor Clams with Thyme

A super main course dish which isn't too spicy: just enough chilli to lift the flavour. Finished off under the grill with a crispy breadcrumb and cheese topping.




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