In 1987 a good friend and culinary mentor the late Fred Hendee, a Seattle native, returned from a quick trip to his home state with a half dozen Geoduck clams. Having grown up on the sea shore eating all sorts of mollusks and crustaceans (clams, oysters, mussels, periwinkles, crabs and lobsters) my passion for local seafood was already well-developed when Fred opened his cooler and showed me these monstrous mollusks. Over the next few hours Chef Hendee blanched, skinned, sucked, cleaned and fabricated the clams into all sorts of items from thin pounded, needled and breaded clam strips to thinly sliced Geoduck siphon sashimi. We slightly froze and ground the neck of one clam using a coarse plate grinder and made a wonderful long-simmered cream based chowder and butterflied the breast (belly) meat into steaks that, after a slight pounding, we sautéed in beurre noisette with lemon and dill. Unfortunately, neither of us at the time thought to record the fun on film and the experience with Chef Hendee was lost all but to my recurring memories.
And this is what I think about each time I visit Seattle and see a Geoduck clam; Chef Fred Hendee smiling in the kitchen while teaching me how to handle a new and interesting seafood product. On this trip I am taking a fresh Geoduck back with me that I purchased at the Taylor Shellfish Farms shop at the corner of Melrose and Pine Streets in Seattle. At my request, the store manager has agreed to fabricate the clam for me while I shoot some pictures. Packed on ice, it was a quick flight home and a fine meal afterwards.
Simmer the Geoduck in water for 15 seconds and remove, quickly pulling the outer skin off of the siphon and belly.
Open the clam up with a sharp knife
Remove the shell from both sides of the clam
Clam with shell removed
Detach and discard the intestinal track
Separate the siphon and breast (belly) and split the siphon with a knife
Clean the siphon of sand and impurities
Cleaned siphon and breast
For sashimi, slice the siphon thinly
Prepared Geoduck Sashimi with Gingered Soy syrup, Cucumber Carrot and Cilantro Slaw