It's clamming season again here in Alaska. Clamming has quickly become one of the adventures we look forward to every year as a family. We don our mud boots, grab our buckets and clam gun, and trudge out in the wet, dark sands of low tide searching for these succulent beauties. Clamming is hard work and it's a muddy business, but it's oh so fun and rewarding. Especially when you get to come home to a plate full of fresh-off-the-beach, juicy, sweet razors. There's really nothing else like it.
Just watch out for that thick, charcoal-black mud that can suck you in like quicksand. One year while on one of our annual family clamming expeditions, I got sucked into the mud with a 4-year-old on my right hip and my Canon T3i camera in my left hand. The more I fought, the more we sank into the ominous sludge. Hands full, I lifted my camera hand high into the air and waved somewhat frantically until my husband and our friend, far off down the beach with our two older kids, spotted us and came back to help us out. Fun times, good memories.
This is my favorite method of cooking razor clams. Razors become very chewy if overcooked, but this recipe produces a perfectly crunchy coating while leaving the clams tender and juicy. The secret is to pop them into the freezer for a bit after you coat them, just prior to frying. A sprinkle of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, and could someone please pass the homemade tartar sauce?
Panko fried razor clams
1 pound razor clams, cleaned
½ cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko crumbs
oil for frying
tartar & cocktail sauces
w 1. You'll want to set out a shallow dish/plate with the flour, another dish with the beaten eggs and another with the Panko. Have a large sheet pan nearby. Begin by coating the clams in the flour, then the egg, followed by a coating of Panko. Place breaded clams onto the large sheet pan. Repeat process until all the clams have been floured, egged and breaded.
w 2. Place the sheet pan into the freezer for 30-60 minutes to adhere the coating and prevent the clams from overcooking when frying.
w 3. To a dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 1-2 inches of oil. You'll want your oil good and hot (around 375 degrees if you have a thermometer) so that the breading is golden and crisp within 60 seconds. Test the oil to make sure it's hot enough by dropping a small bit of leftover breading into the pot. If the oil rapidly bubbles around the edges, it's ready. If it splatters and pops severely, turn it down a smidge.
w 4. Set a plate with paper towels on it beside your stove and have a slotted spoon ready. Drop 4-5 clams into the pot at a time, removing when golden brown, after about 60 seconds, being careful not to overcook (or they will become very chewy). Place the clams on paper towels to drain and season generously with sea salt. Repeat with the remaining clams.
w 5. Serve hot with lemon wedges and tartar/cocktail sauces.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Do you have a family heirloom recipe with a compelling story? Maya would love to hear about it. Email email@example.com and your submission may appear in a future column.
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