Razor Clams with Gremolata, Crispy Breadcrumbs and Aioli

Razor Clams

When I lived in Leiden, one of my favourite things about the weekend was wandering around the market that takes over the main canal through town on a Saturday. The only part I skipped over was the one corner of the market was dedicated entirely to fish. This part of the market sold all kinds of fresh fish to cook, as well as raw herring you eat whole in much the same way as you would down a shot and kibbeling (miscellaneous deep fried white fish). All of this is presided over by some ever watchful seagulls, who will happily grab the food out of your hands given half the chance.

Now that I’ve been converted to fish, I love browsing all the stalls to see what unusual things they have on offer. On my last visit, after careful examination of the stands, we bought a bundle of razor clams, never having tried them before, and unsure of what to do. When I googled razor clam recipes, I was a little concerned that they all mentioned discarding any clams that were open. All of the clams we’d bought were open, with the clams sliding out one end. Just as I was starting to wonder if we’d been duped, a piece by Giorgio Locatelli came to the rescue, explaining that the best way to tell if the clams are alive or not is to tickle the feet. We tentatively tried this with one clam which immediately leaped away. We ended up with an entire plate of clams wriggling and jumping in their shells. It was a little bit creepy, but at least we knew they were fresh.

Serves 2 as a light meal with bread.


  • 350g razor clams
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 150ml white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 slices of crusty bread, torn into very small pieces
  • 1/2 quantity aioli
  • olive oil


  • Clean the razor clams.
  • Check to make sure they are alive by tickling the bit of the clam sticking out from the shell; it should quickly recoil.
  • Make the aioli as per the linked instructions.
  • To make the gremolata, mix the parsley, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic.
  • Fry the bread crumbs in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until crispy.
  • In a large pan with a lid, fry all but one teaspoon of the chopped garlic in some oil until it starts to colour.
  • Add the wine and bring to the boil.
  • Add the clams, put on the lid and cook for three minutes.
  • Remove the clams after three minutes, and serve drizzled with a little of the cooking liquid and topped with the gremolata, breadcrumbs and aioli.

6 thoughts on “Razor Clams with Gremolata, Crispy Breadcrumbs and Aioli

  1. Your post reminded me of October in Madrid, we had razor clams, triggered by my childhood. I grew up in Astoria, Oregon USA (As far west as you can go not counting Alaska and Hawaii). My dad dug clams weekly so I grew up loving them. Yet what I found is that the razor clams of Europe and the ones I was familiar with are different. The Oregon coast ones are about twice as wide, and the flavor is different as well. I enjoyed both.

    Love your style of cooking

      • It is quite tricky, as the clams can dig through the wet sand so fast, they used a shovel with a long narrow blade, actually putting it in on the ocean side of the small indentation in the sand indicating a clam was just below the surface, then after a couple of fast shovels, you drop to your knees and reach into the hole, which has filled with water as you dug and grabbed for the clam. Beginners missed more than they hit, but dad was really good at it and could get a couple of dozen each time out.

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