Razor clams / lingueirao

Fresh razor clams
We had a delicious Feijoada lingueirao at the Bombeiros restaurant in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. Translated into English, this is a Bean and Razor clam dish, like a stew, served with rice. It was lovely and I was delighted to get to try razor clams. They are for sale here in bundles the size of a big fist, but I hadn’t cooked them myself until recently.

Beans and razor clams
Fellow blogger, Anja at www.reisenundspeisen.de, collected a bunch in Ferragudo and asked if I knew how to cook them. I didn’t, but I decided to research it and then prepare them together. Firstly, HARVESTING them is essential if you want to eat them! Anja had tried once before and been relatively unsuccessful, but the local fishermen told her what Mr Google had told me – look for holes in the sand that look like key holes. Not just any old holes, key holes they must be. Then you sprinkle salt on the hole and they come up to the surface. Super!

If this sounds like far too much work for a handful of razor clams (about an hour or two it took her), then pop down to your local fish market and buy them there. Now then, you need to check how fresh they are and you do this by touching the little bitty neck that will be drooping out the bottom of the shells. It should pull itself back into the shell if it is fresh. This was quite fun actually…okay, we all know that I am easily amused!!

My first internet search had revealed enormous razor clams, each one as big as our whole bunch! These are Pacific razor Clams, but as we are in the Atlantic, I changed the search to Atlantic razor clams and these are much smaller. Much much much smaller. They were delicious, but not very much of them. Most PREPARATION methods were for large razor clams, so I decided to adapt the method to suit our size of razor clam.

The internet said to pour boiling water over them, then to rinse under cold water, remove from the shells and cut away just about everything and then cook them afterwards. This would be fine for the ginormous Pacific ones, but not for ours! So I had Anja put on a pot of water to boil and we boiled them for a minute or two and then drained them. This was all the cooking they needed.
Cooked and open
Now to REMOVING from the shells and CUTTING away the “bad bits”. This went much easier than I expected. They came out of their shells easily and I simply cut away the “tummy sack” which was about the size of my smallest fingernail. The very big ones need more stuff removed, but ours didn’t. It took me a bit of time to cut away the little sacks of sand and grit, but it was easily done.
Cutting out the tummies
To SERVE, I suggested giving them a swirl in melted butter or olive oil to heat through and give added flavour which Anja did and they were lovely. You would really need a couple of handfuls per person if you wanted to serve them as a main meal, and they were a very tasty little treat with the meal. Anja served them with boiled cauliflower, rice, stewed tomatoes and onions, and another friend, Uschi, brought an awesome Wirsing Orange dish which I will post about later.
The plate
RESUME: I really like the flavour and texture of them. They are slightly chewy in the good sense of the word. They take a long time to collect relative to the amount of “meat” you get, but then collecting clams also takes a long time relative to the amount of meat. I also really enjoyed them in the Feijoada lingueirao and will definitely be making that in the near future and will tell you all about it.

Anja recently found a photo of a Portuguese dish which had razor clams with the tummies (sand sacks) not removed. I would remove them, but it’s up to you what you’d prefer to do.

Thank you Anja for collecting and sharing them with us!

A couple of sites with interesting razor clam information:
PS: www.sunset.com/food-wine/techniques/how-to-clean-razor-clams shows you how to clean the big ones and I adapted our baby ones from their tutorial.
PPS: www.greatbritishchefs.com/how-to-cook/how-to-cook-razor-clams give information about collecting, cleaning, cooking of razor clams.

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