... or the meal that got away!
We've been having a jolly old time in a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall kind of way. I wish I had photos of the whole forage only excitement levels were running pretty high and quite honestly it was a fight as to who could get their fingers to the ready first. Oh, and by the way, I'm talking about razor clams!
Small keyhole slits in the sea bed can be seen when the tide is far far out and as long as there are no worm casts around, it's a sure sign that there may be clams lurking beneath. They're quite nifty things but a sprinkling of table salt over the slits brings them out as they begin to think the tide is coming back in again. Firstly there is the merest hint of a movement beneath the surface and a bit of bubbling, which then becomes a tremor. Next, and almost like a volcanic eruption, the razor clam suddenly pokes itself out of the sand.
It's now that it gets truly exciting but patience really is a virtue here because you need to wait until it pushes out yet further, this time revealing its shell. It's a bit weird as the syphon often falls off at this point but no matter, now's the time to grab hold of your next meal, tightly as well, as they are surprisingly strong. You need to hold steady for a second or two and then start to ease upwards, gently and slowly or they shoot back down, out of their shells and into the sand once more. But gently does it and then out it comes, hanging half way out at the bottom. A very strange sight indeed and the hole left behind is vast.
I paid a small fortune for these not so long ago in a London fishmongers so it was very satisfying to have grabbed some for free. The only trouble is, MLF got a trifle upset and begged for the whole lot to be set free. Free for Hugh and his gang to come along and grab no doubt!
No matter though because the real fun is in the catch, though they taste nice enough (a little like squid only not quite as good). You steam and serve them just like any other type of clam; shallots, dry white wine, knob of butter, chopped parsley - washed down with a glass of chilled sancerre, warmed baguette with homemade unsalted butter - aaaaaargh, why ever did we let them go?
You can see another 'catch' in action here. It's fascinating!
See you soon x