There's abalone. And then there's the geoduck.
On Good Food this past week, Evan Kleiman had a captivating (and a bit giggle-filled) interview with filmmaker Justin Bookey on his documentary, 3 Feet Under: Digging Deep for the Geoduck Clam. Bookey explains that there's more to the geoduck than...er...meets the eye.
Geoducks (pronounced gooey-duck) are found exclusively in the Pacific Northwest, have a devoted following of connoisseurs, and can best be described as...bearing a certain resemblance to male anatomy.
There are only 2-3 days a year when the tide is low enough to go geoduck digging, and since they're buried three feet deep in wet sand, this can be quite a chore! The pictures on the documentary website of this digging process tell it all.
Aside from the guts, a geoduck is entirely edible. The 'trunk' or 'outer' portion can be peeled and served sashimi-style. Bookey describes this part of the clam as "crunchy but fairly tender" with a sweet taste like lobster.
The inner "breast" part of the clam is very tender and can be sliced up for stir-fries.
Be forewarned--the combination of "rare" + "difficult to harvest" + "exotic" = very pricey. Bookey says that geoducks will sell wholesale for $15-$20, and you'll have the most luck finding them on the menu at Chinese restaurants.
- To hear the entire interview, visit the KCRW website and download the podcast.
Has anyone ever sampled this delicacy?!
Related: When Will You Splurge for Expensive Ingredients?
(Photo Courtesy of Duckumentary and Coolbellup Media, Inc.)