What Is This Scary-Looking Thing, and What the Heck Do You Do With It? (Spoiler: It's Called a Geoduck)

What Is This Scary-Looking Thing, and What the Heck Do You Do With It? (Spoiler: It's Called a Geoduck)

Meet the geoduck, a giant clam that's an Asian delicacy.

By Maggie Shi
Digital Series
Cheryl Burke and Graham Elliot Eat a Giant Mollusk from a Strip Mall

When you initially see a geoduck, you might be a little intimated. First, it bears a strong resemblance to a certain part of the male anatomy. And second, you might wonder—how the heck do you eat that thing? (And why would you want to???)

But the geoduck (pronounced "gooey-duck")—a large clam that's native to the Pacific Northwest—is prized in the culinary world, particularly in Asia. It's thought to promote male virility (gee, we wonder why) and it's also beloved for its bright, briny, slightly sweet flavor. It doesn't come cheap, though; a single geoduck can weigh as much as three pounds and cost over $100. About 90 percent of the phallic clams harvested in the U.S. are exported to Asia, where they're served raw in Japanese sushi restaurants, added to soups and stews in Korea, or served as part of Chinese hot pot.

So….let's say you're lucky enough to get your hands on one. Just how exactly do you prepare it? It's actually quite easy. Top Chef judge Graham Elliot has some basic steps:

1. Boil the Geoduck

Drop the whole thing—shell and all—into a (large) pot of boiling water for about 10 to 20 seconds. This will cause the clamshell to open, making it easy to remove the meat and pull off the skin.

2. Drop It Into Cold Ice Water

Next, shock the geoduck by dropping it into an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process.

3. Remove the Shell

Using a knife, cut around the meat along both sides of the shell, separating the meat from the shell.

4. Separate the Muscle From the Intestines

Use your knife to remove the sack containgint the intestines and other nasty bits and discard. You're left with a nice piece of clam meat.

5. Remove the Clam Skin

The clam is covered by a leathery-looking skin. It should peel off easily, thanks to that quick bath in boiling water.

And now your geoduck is ready to go. You can slice the "trunk" or "neck" (the phallic-looking part) very thinly and serve as is with soy sauce or ponzu sauce for dipping. If you prefer it cooked, try thinly slicing and sautéing it, or chop it up and add to chowders and stews, or turn it into fried fritters. You'll find that this scary-looking clam isn't actually so intimidating after all—and it's actually pretty delicious.

Geoduck Sashimi @taylorshellfish #downtownseattle #seattle #geoduck #sashimi #rawfood

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Bravotv.com’s digital series Going Off the Menu takes viewers on an exclusive culinary adventure as host Graham Elliot uncovers the most delicious offerings within Los Angeles’ underground food scene. From a secret supper club serving smuggled cheeses to an eight-course liquid dinner, join Lance Bass, Cheryl Burke, Reza Farahan, and more as they give fans the secrets to unlock these extraordinary food experiences.

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