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Friday, December 18, 2009

Razor Clams

Bored with prawns and oysters for Christmas and then try one of my top favourite things, Razor clams (pinna bicolor).

I was amazed to find these heavenly clams at the Sydney Fish Markets just recently. I had always believed they were a European mollusk available only to travelers and those lucky enough to live on the Spanish or French coastlines where they are found in abundance. Elusive like Monk fish (Stargazer) in Australia, Razor Clams come from South Australia but are a rare sight and a food experience not to be missed. If I had my way, I would eat them every day and must confess I did exactly that when we were last on the Costa Brava. I could not get enough of them!

Pre-soaking them as follows is a personal choice and not necessary if the clams look clean or if your fishmonger says they have been pre-purged in salt water. If in doubt about their cleanliness fill a sink with water, toss them in and liberally sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of plain flour over the top of the water and leave for an hour or so. The clams ‘take’ in the flour then ‘spit’ it out cleaning themselves in the process. Then rinse in several changes of water. Mussels also benefit from this procedure.

There are several ways to cook Razor Clams depending on your preference.

To steam: Lay the clams in a bamboo basket or any kind of steamer and gently steam them for a few minutes until they open.

For a more rustic approach: pat them dry, turn with tongs continuously on a lightly oiled hot plate (a plancha) until they open and are cooked through.

To boil: Pour a little white wine, a little water , a sliced spring onion and a few sprigs of parsley into a saucepan, add the clams and bring to the boil and cook for exactly one minute. Drain immediately and discard the other flavourings.

I love to eat them coated with just a little garlic-flavoured extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped parsley, a grinding of black pepper or two and masses of delicious bread to mop up the juices.


  1. Cherie, I have never tried these clams... something to look forward to! They look like something from some other world! Next time you see them, please get me some... I would love to try them, you make them sound so appealing.

  2. great tip on how to clean them - thanks. my kilos of clams are currently in the kitchen sink covered in flour and wriggling away.
    do you salt the water for this process? I did.

  3. They were available on the Pacific North West coast of the US when we lived in Canada (Vancouver)in the 1970s but I don't think I ever had them. Do you think they would be available in Newcastle?! - must check them out. Look forward to trying them in Spain and Southern France later in the year.

    1. Pinna bicolor (not the razor calms pictured here) is quite abundant in Lake Macquarie. just dont slice your foot open on one in shallow water. snorkelling over the sandy bottoms around Toronto and Morriset should yield dozens.....

  4. Hi There,

    Im going to South Austarlai at the end of the year, where to find them? can they be salted out as shown on youtube?

  5. Hi Anthony,

    My own research on razor clams at the Sydney Fish Markets found that they came from SA but where exactly was not specified to me at the time. South Australian Fisheries may be able to tell you. I don't know whether they could be salted but I can't see why not. I wish I could be of further help. Please let me know if you have any luck.

    Best wishes, Cheryl