Razor clams with wild garlic

I can never resist a razor clam. There is something elegant about its shell and something definitely rude about the clam bit sticking out the end, indicating just how lively they are. They also have an unparalleled marine sweetness which goes very nicely with gentle insistence of wild garlic. And, of course, wild garlic is free in spring. At least it is around me, where it grows in prodigious abundance. I have included a sausage ever since I ate the great Tom Kitchen of Leith’s version of this dish (without the wild garlic). He used chorizo, and the pepped-up heat of the Spanish sausage does go very nicely. However, I find that milder temperament of our own native banger goes just as well, even better if you can get hold a really good snagger. Pork and shellfish. Just one of the marriages. I reckon you need 2 razor clams per person to make a reasonable first course, four for a snack. This recipe is for a first course.

Serves 4

8 razor clams

4 fistfuls of wild garlic leaves

2 pork sausages or chorizo or merguez

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

100ml white wine

½ lemon

Olive oil

Sea salt

Chop the sausage into smallish cubes and fry in a little oil until cooked and slightly crisp. Take out of the frying pan and keep warm. Fry the breadcrumbs in the sausage fat until brown and toasty. Keep warm. Pour a little olive oil into a big sauce pan, or, even better, a sauté pan. Put in the wild garlic. Place the razor clams on top. Turn up the heat to full blast. Pour over the white wine. Clap on the lid and cook for a minute or a minute and a half max. You do not want to over-cook a razor clam, unless you are fond of India rubber. By that time the clams should be open and the wild garlic pretty much wilted. Extract the clam flesh from the shells, and trim off the tummy with its gritty contents. Cut the remaining clam meat into chunks. While you’re doing that, put the pan back on a lower heat to reduce the cooking juices and finish wilting the wild garlic. Now for assembly. Strew the cooked wild garlic in the empty shells. Arrange the clam meat on top. Season lightly with salt. Scatter with sausage chunks. Sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs. Dribble cooking juices over all and a squeeze of lemon. Don’t worry if the dish is only lukewarm by the time you’re finished. It’ll still taste utterly delightful. By the way, you might find it easier to eat with tea spoon. I do.

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