Machias Community Church

Dig Deep 

Posted by Pastor Ron Friday, September 23, 2011 7:00:00 AM

'Geoduck' (pronounced gooey-duck) comes from a Native American word that means 'dig deep'. These giant edible clams can be several feet below the surface so the name fits. Folks overseas pay dearly for these delicacies but fortunately for us, Puget Sound is literally infested chock full of them. Unfortunately, Puget Sound is deep and a chilly 47°F.

That is why the State feels comfortable allowing non-commercial sport harvesting year round with a daily limit of three. They figure most folks won't be willing take the plunge and even those who do will have trouble digging by hand underwater.

However there are 20 tides per year low enough that you could go out and dig without scuba gear. And unlike razor clams, geoduck clams do not dig away from you. They will pull their siphon down but rest assured they are not going anywhere. Just follow the hole.

Why would anyone want to eat something that looks so... well... gross. Because they are yummy, have a mild clam flavor with none of the yucky green stuff inside and can be easily cleaned sand free. I hate crunchy chowder. A better question is why would anyone paint their house seafoam green but that is another story.

Check out this Washington State website for the when, where and how to obtain your very own giant clams.

Once home with clams in hand put a really big pot of water on to boil and then take the obligatory pictures of grossed out kids holding the geoducks. You should only have three clams unlike the picture above taken in a bygone era.

Once the water is boiling give each clam a bath while you count to ten. Immediately after this slide the skin off of the neck and breast and then grasping the shell halves in each hand pull them apart. Discard the big ball looking thing inside.

Slit both neck tubes open with a knife and rinse out any sand with cold water. Done.

The neck is perfect for chowder, clam strips for clamburgers. No pounding necessary. Just slice, dice and throw into a pot with potatoes, onions, celery, milk and other chowder fixings.

The breast meat bulging out of the shell is tender and delicate. It has a very mild oyster/clam flavor. I like to gently sauteed slices of the breast meat in butter with garlic but be careful not to over cook it or you will ruin the best part. Over cooking seafood is a very bad thing to do. Remember ~ the folks who pay the big bucks eat this stuff raw.

Big bucks? Well that two pound clam at high season could cost more than $300 in Hong Kong and if you wanted thinly sliced geoduck sashimi in a high class restaurant... $$$$$