Last weekend’s unsuccessful clam digging expedition left my cravings for pan-fried razor clams completely unsatisfied. But when a craving strikes, I’m not one to give up easily. Bound and determined to feast on the elusive razor clam, I continued my search...this time at the local fish market. Luckily, finding razor clams is a lot easier at the market than at the beach.
Pan-Fried Razor Clams with Lemon-Tarragon Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced fresh tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper
12 razor clams, cleaned, rinsed, and patted dry
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil, for frying
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, garlic, and tarragon in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs and ¼ cup of water in a large, shallow dish. Mix together the panko and a generous pinch of salt and pepper in another large, shallow dish. Season the clams generously with salt and pepper. Dip each clam into the flour to coat and shake off any excess, then into the egg wash, and then into the panko mixture to coat, patting so that it adheres. Arrange the clams in a single layer on a plate and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Add enough oil to a very large, heavy frying pan to come to a depth of 1/8 inch. Add the butter and heat over high heat until a pinch of the breadcrumb mixture sizzles immediately when added. Add half of the clams and fry without disturbing for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a fish spatula, turn the clams and fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until just cooked through and golden brown. Remove the clams to a paper towel-lined plate and drain for about a minute. Fry the remaining clams in the same manner. Arrange the clams on individual plates, divide the sauce among them, and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6. Razor clams are a popular seasonal delicacy in the Pacific Northwest. They are most commonly eaten breaded and pan-fried, like this. For tender razor clams, fry them in very hot oil as quickly as possible.