Razor clams are delicious, but their shells are very fragile, and they overcook easily. The best way to cook them is in a shallow, wide pan, where they can be nestled next to each other all in the same direction; you can stir them gently without breaking the shells. Razor clams might not always be available from your fishmonger, but regular littleneck clams or mussels are a good alternative. Just keep in mind the cooking time of each; mussels cook at about the same speed as the razor clams, whereas the regular clams will take a few more minutes to open.
- 4 pounds razor clams or mussels or littleneck clams (see headnote)
- ¼ cup -extra--virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ teaspoon crushed -red--pepper flakes or 1 whole dried red pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs
If using razor clams, take care, because they can be very sandy. Place the razor clams under cold running water for 15 minutes. Gently wash, taking care not to break the shells, but making sure to get all the sand out. Mussels just need to be washed, scrubbed, and debearded.
In a large Dutch oven, over -medium–high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, pour in the wine. Bring the wine to a rapid simmer, sprinkle in the red-pepper flakes, and add the razor clams or mussels. Cover, and cook until they open, about 6 minutes for razor clams and mussels, and about 8 to 10 minutes for littleneck clams.
Sprinkle with the parsley and breadcrumbs, return to a simmer, stir gently, and serve.
Have plenty of crusty or grilled bread to dunk in the sauce, and if you have any leftovers, pick the clams out of the shells, return them to the sauce, and use it as a dressing for pasta.