Last week while we were at Ft. Stevens State Park, we took the girls clamming. Rob and I had not been clamming for many years, and the girls never had. We had one clam gun and one shovel. The clam gun worked the best, but we did get a few with the shovel. It only took Rob and I a little while to remember what to look for–a little bump on the sand where the clam was getting its air from. Sometimes, it was a little hole with no bump.
When one of these tell-tale circles was spotted, the person holding the clam gun quickly twisted, pushed and dug down with the plastic tube. Then, her finger was placed on the hole at the top to create suction, and the tube of sand was pulled up. When the finger was removed, the sand fell out of the tube. Hopefully there was a clam inside. Truthfully, more times than not, it took several digs to get one, and sometimes they escaped.
Sometimes they didn’t!
We got a total of 39 clams. We could have had more, but it started pouring rain on our heads, and after all, there was only one clam gun and we had to take turns. We were so soaked when we finally did stop that we had to go to the laundromat and wash our coats and clothing that afternoon. We were having that much fun!!!
We followed the instructions on U-Tube and dipped the clams briefly in boiling water to easily remove the shells. Then, we (mostly Rob) cleaned them out. Frankly, we were not great at that. We ended up with a lot of pieces, not the large, whole clams on the video, but still, we were satisfied.
The rules said that you had to take them all, broken or not, so we did. The broken ones were especially sandy. I washed them many times and finally trimmed off any parts that were so sandy I couldn’t get them clean. I froze 2/3 of the clam pieces and saved out 1/3 to experiment with.
I made a gluten-free tempura batter from Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 flour (about 1 cup), 1 egg, some milk and a little seltzer water. I dipped them, and then fried them in a shallow pan with oil in it. I could have used more oil, but made do.
We then sprinkled them with Lowrie’s Seasoning Salt. They were good, but were on the tough side. I think I cooked them too long. I thought I’d make bigger clam strips than what you get in restaurants, but I guess there’s a reason they are small. I think it takes too long to get the larger amount of tempura to cook all the way through. I also could have cooked them more quickly if I had owned more oil. I want to try it again. I also plan to make clam chowder with some of the frozen ones.
We will go clamming again. Everyone had a good time. We now have our shellfish licenses, so can use them all year. It was very rewarding to catch so many. The tide was very low, so we will try to find another day with a low tide and try it again the next time we are down at the beach. We might even want to invest in another clam gun or two. Then there won’t be so many discussions about whose turn it is……