Fried Razor Clams From Seaside, Oregon

fried clamsJune and July are clam tide months on the Oregon coast.  As a kid, I always looked forward to weekends spent at the beach clamming.  The whole family would pile into the station wagon on a Friday night with camping gear and clam shovels and drive from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon.  Razor clams are sweet morsels and a lot of fun to dig.  You have a clam shovel or a clam gun, (6-inch round aluminum tube about 24 inches tall) and walk the beach looking for a bubble and clam neck poking its head out.  Then you have to step gently up to it with your back to the sea, position the shovel just behind the hole and in a vigorous foray of excitement and speed try to capture that clam before he heads for China.  Sometimes the hole dug would be three feet deep before the raschel was apprehended.  The true test of a good clam digger is to see how many clams you can get in one shovel and not crack the shell.  Whether the shell was whole or not, not a clam was wasted for what we didn’t eat over the weekend would be frozen for a succulent meal after the season was over.  Mom also minced clams and can them in a pressure cooker.  Minced clams make a terrific clam dip or fritters.

Razor clams have flat sharp shells.  You simply slip them from their shelves with a knife and remove the black stomachs with scissors.  Breaded and fried they are a delicious treat.  Red cocktail sauce with horseradish was the preferred accompaniment along with home-frys and mom’s cole slaw. 

This recipe will also work with mussels and tenderized abolone and conch.Ingredients:

  • 2 lb cleaned razor clams, stomachs removed
  • 1 sleeve soda crackers, crushed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (or 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 1/2 cup milk)
  • sea salt
  • 1 or 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter plus (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil plus (more if needed)


  1. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, Tabasco and salt.  Pour into a flat pie plate.
  2. Place cracker crumbs in another pie plate.
  3. Over medium high heat, melt butter, add oil and heat.
  4. Dip each clam in egg wash, then keeping the clam flat, dip into cracker crumbs and coat both sides.
  5. Fry about two minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Don’t crowd them in the skillet and try to lay them out flat.  
  6. Remove to a rack over a platter to drain.  Keep warm until all clams are cooked.
  7. Serve with cocktail sauce or tartare sauce.

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