This is a shell recipe I like because I wrote it back to when I first began to feel confident in the kitchen and decided to try to cook long, strangely feline razor clams. They look even less welcoming than normal shelled things, and so they enticed. They’re delicious, and particularly sweet, so if you’re looking at razor clams and another kind, and both seem good and fresh, try the first. But any clam is good—and so are mussels—so buy whatever you’re facing, and do it boldly.


  • 1 pound new potatoes—red ones or anything smallish and not with a dark brown skin
  • 1 ½-2 pounds razor clams, or littleneck or Manila clams. These are all slightly different sizes, and it doesn’t matter
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, very finely diced
  • 1-2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup or more roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons well-drained capers, roughly chopped
  • water
  • olive oil
  • salt


Boil potatoes in very salty water, putting them in the water cold, then letting it come to a boil. Cook potatoes until completely tender, removing one and cutting it in half to check. Cool potatoes to room temperature on a plate.

In a pot with a cover, bring a cup of water to a boil. Add clams, and cook 2-6 minutes, depending on the type of clam—razor clams are done when they’re sticking out of their shells, other ones just pop open. Remove clams and remove them from their shells, keeping water. Chop razor clams into inch-long pieces. Leave other clams or mussels whole.

In a big bowl, soak the onion, garlic, and mustard, in the juice of half a lemon, and a tiny sprinkle of salt. Slice the potatoes into rounds about ½-inch thick, and squeeze them with a little lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil. Make vinaigrette by adding 3 tablespoons of liquid from clam pot and capers to the onions and garlic, and whisking in approximately as times as much olive oil as you have lemony-onions and capers. Add chopped parsley, reserving a little for the very end.

Dress the potatoes with half the vinaigrette—or so!—and the clams with the other half. Taste each individually, add a little salt if needed, and lemon juice or clam liquid if it seems dry, or olive oil if it seems lean. Spoon potatoes onto a big plate, then the clams scattered around the top. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, then scatter with parsley.

Enjoy fearlessly.


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