Clam-Tastic Times at the Razor Clam Festival!!

The Ocean Shores’ 4th Annual Razor Clam Festival was clam-tastic! We headed out early to meet up with local Ocean Shores TV hosts. We shot episodes of Discovering Food and Wine with Leedia Bailey and Cooking with Dale. Then it was off to the festival kick off VIP Party at the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino. (which by the way is a fantastic place to stay!)  I got to meet and chat with some great razor clam enthusiasts, nibble on some great apps prepared by the hotel, and sign some copies of Sips & Apps. Following the VIP was the clam dinner and dance and the coronation of this year’s Razor Clam King and Queen!

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The Razor Clam Queen and King in their royal garb! Too Funny!

The next day was the big day! Held at the Ocean Shores Convention Center, the day started off with a firemen’s all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast! There was lots of booths set-up for hand crafted gifts, baked goods, local restaurants dishing out samples of clam chowder and other goodies, and some fantastic live music.

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Here’s a photo of “Butter Clam” Cookies from Suzie’s Cakes!

Then we got down to tasty business – the clam chowder cook-off! Entrees were judged upon taste, texture, appearance and smell. The competition was tough – there were so many tasty chowders!

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Heather, Cameo and Travis from Kathy Casey Food Studios sampling one of over 29 clam chowders!  

After careful deliberation amongst the judges, the winners were chosen. Amateur Category : 1st place Dee Dee Bass, 2nd place Don Toon, 3rd place Jeffery Huffman. Professional Winners: 1st place Front Street Café at Seabrook, 2nd place Alec’s by the Sea, 3rd place Quinault Beach Resort & Casino. Congratualtions to all the winners!!

 

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The 1st Place Blue Ribbon Winner of the Amateur Clam Chowder Cook-Off:
Dee Dee Bass and me! 

Then we were off to the best part of the day – razor clam digging!

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My Crazy Clam-Tastic Crew Dressed in Beach Gear!
(l to r: Travis, Jill, Heather, John, me, Cameo, and Erwin) 

And maybe it was a once in a lifetime thing but it was sunny and almost kind of warm on the ocean beach! We dug and we dug……….and we danced ! Yes, after digging our clams we decided to make up an official Razor Clam Dance – stay tuned for the YouTube video!

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Delicious razor clams!

After a great day hosting razor clam fest, digging clams, meeting new friends and dancing on the beach – we hit the sack. Then early the next day, we headed out for one last feast before the drive back to Seattle. We started our Sunday with a beautiful brunch at the Collins Inn – wow what a cute place and brunch was fantastic. We started with pastries, fresh fruits and then on to d’lish entrees: smoked salmon Benedict, seafood frittatas, waffles and more!

Today we are back at the Food Studios and shooting a video on how to clean razor clams.

We rinsed our clams at Ocean Shores and then put them in our ice chests to chill out till we headed home. A lot of the motels have “clam cleaning” stations but we opted to wait till we got home. Cleaning the clams is a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before—and online instructions are a bit vague.

When we clean our clams we also save the shells, boil them to get any gook off and then clean them well. Next, we soak them in water with a tiny touch of bleach to get any remaining smell out. We then dry the shells to use for garnishing and/or as a serving vessel for sashimi that we will make out of the clam necks.

(Here’s a YouTube video of my friend Scott and I demonstrating how to properly clean razor clams.)

Though many government sites recommend not eating clams raw, I like to take the tougher neck part of the clam and slice it in lengthwise strips; sometimes I even lightly pound this part of the clam. We enjoy the tougher neck portions sliced paper thin on a bias and eat it sashimi style with a little ponzu and soy – a lovely presentation served in the cleaned shells.

The “belly part” of the clam we keep separate from the body part for other great clam dishes.

I’m disappointed to find a plethora of RITZ cracker breaded clam preparations and heavy breaded variations. Though a light dip in egg and panko or cracker crumbs is a tasty classic preparation – we all wanted to try something more clamtastic with our clam bounty. So after a couple of impromptu dinner parties at Scott and Darwin’s we came up with a quick and easy and delicious clam fritter recipe. Yes, they are fried – but we do it hot and quickly so they are not greasy at all! Served up with what Scott calls my “Rock the World Tarter Sauce” – the recipe is a classic with a modern update!

And for a lighter Razor Clam dish try whipping up my recipe for Razor Clams with Lemon Grass.

Here’s to “digging” into some great Razor Clam dishes! – Kathy

Scott & Kathy’s CLAMTASTIC Razor Clam Fritters
Makes 24 – 26 fritters

3 cups chopped/diced razor clams
3 cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix with buttermilk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup clam nectar (or reserved clam juice)
1/4 cup Northwest amber beer, flat
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup minced celery
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels
6 scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped orange or red bell pepper (about 1/2 pepper)
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Crisco shortening for frying
Lemon wedges for garnish/squeezing
Kathy Casey’s Ultimate Rock-the-World Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)

Drain the clams and save any juice for use in recipe.
In a large bowl combine the Krusteaz, corn meal, baking powder, lemon pepper, zest, salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic, clam nectar/juice, beer and eggs to combine.
Then fold in the celery, corn, green onions, bell pepper and drained clams.

Heat 2-inches of Crisco in a large cast iron skilled till hot – about 375 degrees. Scoop out fritters a few at time – I use a 1/4 cup measure – they should be kind of spread out and not too thick. Fry on first side till golden and then flip over. Continue frying till golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Cook fritters in batches being sure oil stays hot. Keep fritters warm in a 300 degree oven on a rack if needed – but they are best served right away – the fritter cook will just have to keep cooking! Serve with Rock the World Tartar Sauce and fresh lemons.

Kathy’s Rock-The-World Tartar Sauce
Makes 2 cups 

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle or dill pickle relish
2 Tbsp. drained capers, chopped
1 green onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a medium  bowl, mix all the ingredients.
© Kathy Casey 2010 – Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books

Pacific Rim Razor Clams with Lemon Grass
I like to serve this dish with steamed jasmine rice. If you like it spicier serve red chili paste such as Sambal Oelek on the side… just be sure you don’t use too much and cover up the delicate flavor of the sweet clam.

Serves 2-4

4 very large northwest razor clams

Pacific Rim Herb Paste
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
1 tabelspoon fresh lemon grass, end cut off, trimmed and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

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2 teaspoons canola oil
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon asian fish sauce
1/4 cup light coconut milk (or use regular)

Garnish: 1 lime cut in quarters  or 2 tiny key limes
5-6 large cilantro sprigs , coarsely chopped

Cut clam neck and body into strips and cut belly’s into 2 pieces. Set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together Pacific Rim Herb Paste. Toss clams in mixture. Set aside.

Heat oil in a  large non-stick pan over medium –high heat. When pan is hot add belly’s first – cook for about 1 minute then turn over and add clam strips, onions and peppers. Cook for about 1 more minute. Add fish sauce and coconut milk. Cook for about 1/2 – 1 minute more until hot. Serve immediately with fresh lime squeezed over dish and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.

Recipe © 2010 Kathy Casey Food Studios

Posted by Kathy Casey on April 5th, 2010  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts

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