Stick your neck out for a little raw geoduck


I know, you can’t help but giggle when you look at a geoduck (gooey-duck) – I’m pretty sure even my dogs were laughing when they saw what I brought home this week from the fresh seafood tank at Uwajimaya.

But Geoduck Crudo with Shiso Oil (pg 13) is no joke – it’s a delicious, raw clam dish with the mostly heavenly shiso (part of mint and basil family) oil drizzle.  If you don’t like sushi, don’t let this succulent raw dish scare you – be bold and give it a try!

At least that’s what I told my sister at a family gathering we had for relatives from Atlanta this week, since she was the only one who just couldn’t bring herself to try this dish.  But it was her loss (!) as the rest of us snapped up the delicate, tender strips in no time flat.

For those of you unfamiliar with the geoduck, it’s the largest burrowing clam in the world, and typically weighs about 2-3 pounds.  Most are harvested after about 5-6 years, but some live more than 140 years – and Becky claims the oldest geoduck lived for 164 years!  It is a scary looking clam for sure but usually the nervous laughter turns to guffaws after all the jokes about its phallic appearance begin. :)  And another piece of trivia – the geoduck is the mascot of Evergreen State College in Olympia.  True fact.

There is a little work involved to get the geoduck from its live form onto your dinner plate, and Becky’s how-to video was absolutely invaluable.  I watched it twice before starting the process, and then brought my laptop to the kitchen counter, pausing with each step, to make sure I had it just right!  If you just do exactly what she says, the end result will be perfect and delicious, I promise.

The siphon (long exterior neck) of the geoduck is what you use for this dish, slicing it ever so thin, and then watching as it curls up into a frilly little wavy pattern.  It goes right on the plate, drizzled with the shiso oil (olive oil, rice vinegar, shiso leaves)  The guests all marveled at the “crunch” the clam had, even in a thin, raw slice.  The shiso was a nice pop of flavor and the ground peppercorns and sea salt provided a great seasoning finish to each bite.

If you like sushi, this dish is a no-brainer and you’ve probably already enjoyed it many times.  However, if you are a newbie to this delicious clam – especially in its raw form – stick your neck out (like a geoduck!) and take a chance on a most memorable appetizer.

NEXT: Two more dishes for the Atlantans – Oysters on the Half Shell with Cucumber Sorbet and Newspaper Crab with Three Sauces


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