Razor clams owe their English name to their resemblance to the handle of an old fashioned straight razor, whilst they are called cannolicchi in Italian because their shape is also similar a small cane -canna in Italian (in fact, another name is bamboo clam).
Razor clams live in the sand in the seashore and, although not often commercially fished (mainly because they are quite difficult to catch due fact that they can burrow incredibly quickly in mud or sand soil), they are regarded as a delicacy.
Compared to other shellfish such as cockles and clams, or mussels, they have a sweeter, less salty and more delicate flavour, that makes them one of my favourites, something that I always buy when they are available
They are very simple to prepare too, are good both cold and warm, and can be the main ingredient of a quick and tasty pasta dish or a delicious salad.
See below how to prepare them:
- First, rinse them in running water
- Put them in a pan with a splash of water (I suggest you don’t use white wine as they will be ready very quickly and there would be no time to cook off the alcohol) and cover
- Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the shells open up
- Once opened you will just need to discard the dark sac you will find in the middle of the clam (I assume it’s the stomach but I do not have any scientific knowledge to support this statementt), as it’s normally very gritty
- As usual with shellfish, filter the liquid they have released as it’s packed with flavour and you should use it in your recipe