Seattle Geoduck Clams Look So Wrong, Taste So Right

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 29, 2006

One of the first things that strikes you when you visit Seattle is the sheer physical beauty of the place.

The city finds itself in the rare situation of being surrounded by water and by mountains to the east and to the west. Its most startling geographic feature, though, is Mt. Rainier, which towers over the city to the south.  

The natural bounty is also evident in the city's cuisine. Take, for example, the geoduck clam, which grows only in Puget Sound. It has the distinction of being the largest clam in the world – it generally weighs about 2 pounds and the biggest have weighed in at more than 7 pounds.   

It's also one nasty looking creature, the Lyle Alzado of the shellfish world. That's a picture of it right there. The State of Washington's website also claims it's one of the longest-living animals on the planet: it can reportedly live up to 146 years.  

The folks at Pure Food Fish Market, part of Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market, turn the meaty geoduck into a spectacular clam fritter. Here's the recipe below, courtesy of the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook.

They're real easy to whip up on the back of your truck before the game. If you can't get out to Qwest Field – it's a beautiful place, like the city of Seattle itself – you can order geoducks from Pure Food Fish Market and they'll ship the ugly bastards to you.  

Here's how you make 'em, courtesy of the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (the 225 Club likes a bit more pepper)
  • Dash of ground nutmeg (a bit more here, too)
  • 1/3 cup clam juice (you can get this in a can at your local market)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (like the Colts in the playoffs)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted (like our hopes and dreams)
  • 1 geoduck clam, cleaned and diced
  • Vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a mixing bowl. Add the clam juice, eggs and milk and beat thoroughly with a wire whisk. Fold in the butter and the clam meat.   Fill a large saucepan or wok halfway with vegetable oil and heat to 375 degrees. Your trusty old tailgate deep fryer will work quite well for this. Very carefully, drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and cook 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, or until the fritters are golden on both sides. (If you're in the parking lot and your deep fryer has a basket, you can use that and carefully lower it into the oil with the dough in it.) Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves about 4, or 2 members of the 225 Club.

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