It’s pretty rare to see razor clams at a fishmonger. Even in France.
So when I saw them in the central Market in Casablanca, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Look she has couteaux (razor clams)! Lets get some.” They hadn’t had any the day before.
“We’ll take 12 couteaux.”
Zoubida counted out loud as she picked them out of the crate on her stand. “2,4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and one for mademoiselle and one for monsieur. Those are from me” She smiled. They cost virtually nothing.
Then we took them to Bouchra. This was once we’d figured out the system of the central market in Casa. “Lets see how she does them.”
I hardly ever see razor clams in restaurants. For one thing they are tough to clean or disgorge by removing the sand and excess salt. Disgorgement is a series of soakings in fresh water alternated with salty water. And if you don’t get the disgorgement right, they end up sandy. Or worse: rubbery AND gritty, if you don’t get the cooking time right. I’ve only tried cooking them at home a couple of times and don’t think I have the technique down right yet.
But if you get it right, they are delicious! Sweet –like other clams- but perhaps with a little more earthiness. And with signature sea breeze aromas. Not quite briny, like oysters, but a salinity that is almost embedded in the flesh. Plus because of their size, they really fill your mouth with their aroma.
We had just barely enough time to sit down and our platter of razor clams appeared. They were beautiful. And it looked like they had been dusted with cinnamon. The Duc and I were amazed. How could they be ready so soon? What kind of a disgorgement did she do? And where was this cinnamon tinge coming from?
There was no sandiness. No grittiness. No rubbery-ness. Only perfectly cooked razor clams. The best I have ever had. Was there really cinnamon in the light spice dusting? Or were we just imagining it? That’s what Morocco is all about.