What We’re Grilling This Week: Grilled Razor Clams With Plenty of Bacon and Green Garlic

razor clams
Photo by.Ignacio Ayestaran

Nothing spells summer like clams. And coastal New England loves to celebrate with enough glitzy clambakes that even Gatsby would tire of ‘em. This summer, leave that massive endeavor with all the accoutrements (corn, sausage, potatoes, newspaper, to name a few) to the local seafood restaurant or waterfront hotel. Instead, in the comfort of your own backyard, we’re keen on befriending the narrow and aptly-named razor clams.

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These often overlooked clams are meaty and packed with plenty of flavor; they cook up nicely in the sauté pan, but our vote is the forgiving grill. “I love [razor clams] for their unique texture and sweetness,” says chef Jeremy Sewall, author of The New England Kitchen. “I know a lot of fishermen and shellfish farmers who supplement their income by digging razor clams when the tide is right—sometimes as rarely as once a month, sometimes under the light of a full moon. But that’s the beauty of these animals: They are wild and finicky and always a treat.”

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“Check with your local fish market or look for them online,” he says. “A good purveyor will keep you informed about availability. And, just like you would with any shellfish, make sure they’re alive when you buy them and that their shells are intact.”

Here’s Sewall’s favorite way to prepare them. Yes, there will be rendered bacon fat—you won’t be disappointed.

Razor Clams_Jeremy Sewall
Credit: Michael Harlan Turkell

Chef Jeremy Sewall’s Grilled Razor Clams with Bacon and Green Garlic

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Prep time

30 minutes min.

Cook time

30 minutes min.

  • 20 medium-sized razor clams
  • 1 stalk green garlic (regular garlic will do, too)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 oz slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Remove the outer layer of the green garlic and trim off the root end. Thinly slice until you reach the green part of the stem. Discard the greens, or save for another use. In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the bacon and render until it begins to crisp, four to five minutes. Remove from heat. Drain all but three tablespoons of fat from the pan.
Place bacon back over heat and add the green garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to soften and becomes translucent, about two minutes. Let the bacon and garlic sit at room temperature while the clams are cooking.
Place the razor clams on a grill over high heat; cook until they begin to open, about four minutes. When the clams are cooked, place on a large serving platter.
Warm and season the bacon and garlic with the parsley, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. Spoon the bacon and garlic over the clams and serve.