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Wednesday, March 25, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Treasures Of The Beach -- Clean Clams? Douse, Douse, Snip, Snip

So you've dug up a bucket of razor clams. What do you do next?

Clean them.

Linda Ferrier, a Long Beach Peninsula resident and lifelong razor-clam digger, shared some of her tips with us.

-- Cover the clams with seawater before you leave the beach, and keep them in it until you're ready to clean them.

By filtering the water through their systems, the clams rid themselves of sand and grit. Ferrier says she's never had sandy clams when she did this. (Don't use fresh water; it will kill the clams, which should remain alive until you're ready to clean them.)

-- Just before cleaning the clams, pour boiling water over them so they'll release their shells. Then plunge them immediately into ice-cold water to prevent actual cooking. They should slide easily out of their shells.

Some people submerge them in boiling water instead of pouring the water over them, but this can make them tough.

-- Use scissors, not a knife, to clean the clams. It's a lot easier.

Here's how Ferrier cleans razor clams.

1. Snip off the tip of the neck.

2. Snip off the digger at the foot of the clam. Clean the digger by cutting up one side and across the top so it lays out flat, and rinsing it.

3. Holding the clam in one hand, cut along the zipper-like strip from the foot of the clam to the base of the neck. Continue cutting through the first siphon to the top of the neck, then repeat with the second siphon.

4. Lay the clam open and snip off the gills, the dark digestive area and the clear digestive "rod." Rinse the clam and it's ready to cook.

As for cooking, that's a delicious cinch the way Ferrier does it. First, she dips the clams in an egg wash, then coats them with a prepared seasoned flour.

Next she fries them ever so briefly - two minutes at most - in pre-heated canola oil, until they're golden.

Tender, delicately flavored clams are the reward.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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