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Razor Clams

Sweeter and meatier than littlenecks and surprisingly tender, they’re worth the effort.

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Grappling with live razor clams is not a job for the squeamish. Squirmy and feisty, they shoot out from both ends of their shell like something out of a bad horror movie, and if properly stored in the refrigerator under wet paper towels, they’ll keep at it for several days. “They have a tremendous amount of resilience,” says Esca chef Dave Pasternack, who serves them as a crudo dish. Sweeter and meatier than littlenecks and surprisingly tender, they’re worth the effort. As with all raw shellfish, buy only the freshest possible from a reliable source like Blue Moon Fish, which just returned to the Greenmarket after a winter hiatus.

Dave Pasternack’s Razor-Clam Crudo
16 small or medium-size razor clams
1 tablespoon reserved juice from the clams
1 ounce chiffonade of fresh mint
2 scallions, sliced on diagonal
1 tablespoon mixed chilis, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt pinch of fresh ground pepper


Illustrations by John Burgoyne.  

1) Rinse clams under cold water and shuck with clam or butter knife, removing belly and dark membrane. Slice clams on the bias into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Clean and save the shells.
(2) Place all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl and mix vigorously until well combined.
(3) Spoon mixture into the cleaned shells and serve immediately on crushed ice. Serves 4.


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