"Clams on a stick" north coast delicacy
"Razor Clams, Yummy!!!"
Great music for clam digging
The following is a story about catching razor clams in Oregon and a recipe for razor clams on a stick follows.
I was very fortunate to have been raised on the Oregon and Washington coast. My dad was a commercial fisherman and logger, when the fishing was not in season he would work in the logging industry.
We kids, my two sisters and myself, were lucky to have a mother who enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes all the time. I can not remember a time that we all did not sit down at the table especially for the evening meal, there were times that dad could not join us because he was fishing and sometimes he would be out in the ocean for a week or more.
We had many different varieties of seafood, tuna and shrimp, Dungeness crab and Chinook salmon, and the list could go on.
What stood out the most for me were the Razor Clams. These clams have a long neck that sticks out and they live in the wet sand along the shore. At an early age we were taught how to go about catching these little critters. When the tide goes out that is the time to go clam digging, especially after a storm or high tide. A lot of times this would involve dragging yourself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. For a young kid this was not a pleasant task. First you would have to bundle up with sweatshirts, sometimes long johns underneath. Hip boots were a must but sometimes you could get away with knee high rubber boots, but they could fill up with cold sea water, if you were not careful.
Once we had all this gear on we would pile into the car or pickup and head for the beach. Clam shovels were mainly used, there were other devices but not as eeffective. The shovels were like an ordinary garden shovel with long handle. T he difference was that the blade was longer and more tapered with a curve on the head.
We would attach a clam sack around or waist. This was like a mesh net that water would go through. It was long and trailed on the ground behind you. There were times when it still was not daylight and you had to carry a gas lantern, which was tricky, until you got the knack of it.It was cold, windy and rainy most times, but once you got on the beach you were all excited and forgot about the elements around you.
Now its an art in itself, digging clams. First you invert the clam shovel and use the handle to tap the sand. Soon, if your lucky, there will appear a small crater, hole or indention in the sand, sometimes there will be a squirt of water like a little geyser. Quickly you turn the shovel with the head down and dig about three inches away from the hole, never come down directly on the hole or you will smash the clam. Once the shovel has gone down in the sand you remove it quickly upward with the sand coming with it and then very quickly reach down and grab the clam and toss it into the clam sack. Years ago when there were plenty of clams you could get a clam license and dig them by poundage. Now they have a limit of I think maybe 15 per person, and at times you cannot dig them at all, depending on how many there may be.
And now that you have caught your clams lets discuss the best part - serving clams on a stick. I have attached a great video on the preparation and cleaning of clams which I hope you will view. Following is a recipe for frying clams:
One dozen razor clams, shelled and cleaned
2 cups of Krusteaz pancake mix
1/4 cup of milk
Canola oil (coat the bottom of fry pan)
1 dozen Ka Bob sticks
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauce for fried clams:
1 cup of mayo
½ cup of ketchup
2 table spoons lemon juice
Combine the eggs with milk and mix well. Place clams in egg mixture and than dredge the clams in the Krusteaz pancake mix. You may want to put the clams on wax paper until they all have been coated. Now that the oil is really hot carefully add the clams. Clams do not take very long to cook.
In just a few minutes make sure the batter is turning golden brown then turn clams over and watch them carefully. I would say cook for, at the most, 3 minutes or less all together. Remove the clams and lay them on paper towels. Let the clams cool for a short time and than take the KaBob stick (skewer) and from the boot of the clam insert the tip and push it up and weave it in and out until you get to the neck.
You now have a clam on a stick! You can drizzle the sauce over the clam or dip it. Hope you enjoy this! (the necks may be a little chewy and some people will pound them with a meat tenderizer before frying)