KyLynn Hull is a stay-at-home mom and dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl – Bound by the Seasons.
I’m what you call a clam snob. Actually, I’m a seafood snob and my entire family is, too. When you grow up surrounded by fresh seafood, it’s difficult to be anything but selective.
Growing up we ate at tables spread with newspapers and empty beer bottles were placed in our tiny hands to crack an endless stream of Dungeness and king crab legs spread across the table. My dad was the original Deadliest Catch…just kidding, but we did live on Kodiak Island in Alaska, and my dad commercial-fished for Dungeness, king and Ophelia crab until his boat sank in the Gulf of Alaska. (Everyone made it off the boat safe!) To say the least, we had an abundance of seafood and ate it daily. My mom would have to come up with new ways to fix all the seafood and some of it, well, was less than desirable. (Crab casserole, anyone?) Oh, how I miss those days. I’d give anything to sit at a table with an empty beer bottle and crack away.
When we moved to Washington state, we lived on the coast and razor clam digging was a past time. During clam season we’d head out to the beach and dig our 15-clam limit…well, I’d sit in the warm car and watch, but everyone else got their limit. We’d take them home and fry them up for a fresh-from-the-beach, local meal. It’s a delicacy our family–and entire town–enjoy each season. This spring, I brought my 2-year-old out to the beach with my parents for his first razor clam experience. We dug our limits (even me!) and brought 45 clams home to clean and devour. (Next clam season, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to dig and clean clams!) My son enjoyed “digging” the clams and eating them, too.
When my folks moved to a lake house by Hood Canal, an abundance of steamer clam beaches opened its doors to us. Luckily, my dad’s friend lives on a private steamer clam beach and, surprisingly enough, nobody in their family eats them so they encourage our family to pile in and head over. Maybe they regret it when they see us coming, but we make sure those clams don’t go to waste. Once we bring them home, we flush them for 24-hours in fresh saltwater we harvested with the clams and it allows them to pump the sand out so there’s no grit when you devour them!
If you have the chance, get out there and dig. Nothing is like it and you get to eat the fruits of all your labor. Check out these websites for public beaches in the Pacific Northwest:
Try a couple of my favorite shellfish recipes
Crispy-Baked Razor Clams
1/4 cup milk
1 sleeve crackers
1 limit (15) razor clams
Salt and pepper, to taste
Beat eggs until frothy and add milk place in separate bowl for dipping.
Place crackers in plastic bag and crush with rolling pin and place on separate plate.
Clean and dry the clams.
Dip clams in egg wash and roll in cracker crumbs.
Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay out clams on baking sheet.
Bake 450 degrees 15 minutes or until crunchy. Shake with salt and pepper and serve.
Pacific Northwest Steamer Clams
4 cups fresh saltwater
2 cups dry white wine
2 limits (72) steamer clams
1 cup butter
2-3 minced garlic cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Clean clams in saltwater for 24 hours to pump the sand out of the clams.
Fill steamer with saltwater and wine and fill steamer basket with clams.
Cover and bring to boil.
Steam until clams pop open, about 20 minutes.
Melt butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper and various herbs in saucepan.
Serve clams with butter for dipping.