On the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland, razor clams are called spoots. (According to Alan Davidson in “North Atlantic Seafood”.) There, they are either grilled over an open fire or boiled, then quickly sautéed in butter. This recipe is a riff on the butter option with a French twist. The beurre blanc sauce coats and seasons the largish clams better than plain butter, while the Espelette pepper adds a spicy counterpoint. You could also just use coarsely ground black pepper.
36 razor clams
2 cups water (500 ml)
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
2 sticks salted butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated (or frozen)
Espelette pepper, or other mild chile pepper, or freshly ground black pepper
Soak and purge the razor clams in a bucket of salt water in the fridge (2 Tbs. sea salt/quart or liter or else sea water). Drain
Bring the 2 cups fresh water to a boil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the razor clams, cover, and cook 1 minute. Uncover, and continue to cook, removing clams one by one as they open. Place opened clams in a large serving dish, and keep warm.
Strain the cooking liquid through a fine strainer, and reserve.*
Prepare the beurre blanc sauce: Simmer the shallot, garlic, and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooking juice to the shallots, reduce the heat to low, and begin adding the butter little by little, whisking constantly. The butter should not melt, and you should have a smooth, creamy sauce.
Spoon the beurre blanc sauce over the razor clams, and sprinkle with parsley and Espelette (or other) pepper. Serve immediately with fresh bread. Serves 4 to 6.
*The cooking liquid can be used like a fish stock in other recipes. It freezes well.