Catch It and Cook It – Razor Clams

Catch It and Cook It – Razor Clams

Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
roasted razor clams on a plate

Razor clams are an edible species of shellfish which gets their common name from their resemblance to an old fashioned cut-throat razor.

Collecting Them

Razorfish can be found across most types of beaches but may be more common in sheltered areas rather than vast open beaches. The easiest way to collect them is to wander along the beach after a storm. The razorfish will have been thrown out of their burrows and can simply be collected by hand.

However, a more proactive way of collecting razorfish is to go down to the beach armed with a container of salt. The best time to go is on a very low spring tide as the maximum amount of razorfish beds will be uncovered. Walk carefully and slowly (as razorfish will burrow deeper if they feel threatened by the vibrations and pressure changes of heavy footsteps) and look for the keyhole-shaped home of the razorfish.

Remember the Salt

Once this has been found pour a generous amount of salt down the hole. If nothing happens pour some water down to flush the salt further down the hole. Once the salt comes into contact with the razorfish it will pop out of its home. They can then be held gently but firmly and pulled out of the sand. Be careful as grabbing the razorfish too roughly will see it break up and sink back into the hole.

collecting razor clams
Gathering razor clams using salt

The reason why razorfish come out of their home is unknown. Some believe the salt tricks them into thinking it is high tide and time to come out and feed. Another theory is that razorfish cannot handle that much salt on their body and try to escape. Either way, razorfish can be successfully gathered in this manner.

Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..

Having collected your clams I have a couple of nice ways to cook them, either roasted or grilled. Both are really easy and make an interesting starter that many people won’t have tried before.

roasted razor clams on a plate

Roasted Razor Clams

Simple, tasty razor clams roasted in their shells
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Course: Starter
Cuisine: 🇬🇧 British
Keyword: clams, shellfish
Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 53kcal
Author: Jamie Oliver


  • 1 kg razor clams from sustainable sources
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 lemons


  • Preheat the oven to full whack.
  • Rinse your clams under cold running water and pull off any seaweed. Make sure the shells are all tightly closed. Spread out in a roasting tray.
  • Slice the chillies and unpeeled garlic lengthways, then scatter over the clams. Pick over the rosemary leaves, then drizzle everything with olive oil and pop in the oven.
  • Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the shells start to open.
  • Turn the tray around to make sure the clams cook evenly, then return to the oven until all the clams are open.
  • Remove them from the oven and squeeze over the juice from half a lemon. Using tongs, lift the clams onto a serving dish and spoon any tray juices over the top.
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread. Cut the remaining lemons into wedges and serve on the side for squeezing over.


Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g
grilled razor clams

Grilled Razor Clams

This method of grilling and serving with fennel, thyme and chilli is a great way of teasing out their evocative flavour
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Course: Starter
Cuisine: 🇬🇧 British
Keyword: clams, shellfish
Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Calories: 386kcal
Author: Great British Chefs


  • 16 razor clams
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 leek small, white part only
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch lemon thyme
  • 10 g Parmesan
  • 50 g white breadcrumbs fresh
  • 120 g butter
  • 250 ml white wine
  • sea salt


  • Wash the clams well under cold running water to remove any sand
  • Tie the thyme sprigs together with string and set them aside. Trim the celery, fennel and leek and peel the onion, reserving all the trimmings and peelings. Evenly dice the vegetables into 1cm pieces
  • Finely chop the chilli, reserving the seeds. Peel and finely chop the garlic, and add with the chilli to the diced vegetables
  • In a bowl, grate the Parmesan and mix with the breadcrumbs
  • Place the reserved vegetable trimmings and the chilli seeds into a large saucepan with the thyme and half of the butter. Place the pan over a high heat and cook the vegetables until softened, approximately 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by half
  • Then, add the clams and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Continue to cook over a high heat for 4 minutes or until the clams have fully opened, then tip the contents of the pan into a colander set over a bowl and let the liquid strain through
  • To remove the clams from their shells, begin by removing the foot part and then discard the stomach (you will recognize this as the solid mass of mussel as opposed to the disjointed belly that is half attached). Wash the shells for serving the clams. Slice the clams about the same size as the diced vegetables
  • Preheat the grill on a medium setting
  • Add the diced vegetable mix to a saucepan with the remaining butter and a small sprinkling of sea salt. Allow the vegetables to sweat down over a medium heat until softened, then add the cooking liquid from the clams and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Then, add the clams and remove the pan from the heat
  • Spoon the clams and vegetables back into the shells. Sprinkle over the Parmesan crumb mix and grill until a light golden brown colour. Serve immediately


Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g

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