These Vietnamese grilled razor clams with scallion oil, fried shallots, and roasted peanut are the epitome of Vietnamese seafood–freshness, flavor, and texture.
This weekend I lucked out and found razor clams at Ranch 99 Market. When it comes to clams, they are my favorite. My very first memory of eating razor clams was with my aunt during our family beach vacation in Vũng Tàu. We always ordered ốc móng tay nướng mỡ hành or grilled Vietnamese razor clams with scallion oil as part of a seafood feast after playing in the water for hours. These grilled razor clams along with fried shallots and roasted peanuts bring all the textures and freshness essential to Vietnamese seafood dishes.
How to prep razor clams
There are two different types of razor clams, Pacific and Atlantic. You can read about the difference on Serious Eats. The ones I used for this recipe are Atlantic razor clams. Named for its resemblance to a straight razor, these clams have elongated thin and delicate white flesh with a subtle sweetness. Pick razor clams that are alive and fresh. To keep them alive, store them overnight wrapped in a damp cloth in your refrigerator. Do not put them in tap water or they’ll drown.
Razor clams need to be cleaned properly before cooking. Put the clams in a container with salted cold water for half an hour to purge the excess sand. Check the outside of the shells to make sure they aren’t broken. Any damaged shells should be discarded. If you see the white flesh sticking out of their shells, give them a quick tap and they should wriggle back inside the shell. Give the razor clams a quick rinse before you cook them.
Tips for grilling razor clams
- Don’t grill them directly on the grate. They might fall in between the cracks.
- Grill them on a cast iron pan or aluminum foil set directly over the grate.
- Razor clams cook fast. It only takes 2-3 minutes for them to cook so keep an eye on them.
- Don’t overcook them or the meat will taste rubbery and tough.
These grilled razor clams don’t need much. Bound together by the scallion oil, meaty clams with their briny juices, fried shallots, and roasted peanuts make the perfect seaside snack. Some like to squeeze fresh lime over the grilled razor clams but I prefer a drizzle of spicy dipping sauce to give it a little bit of heat. These Vietnamese grilled razor clams are the epitome of Vietnamese seafood–freshness, flavor, and texture.
For more seafood inspiration, check these recipes: Vietnamese savory prawn coconut pancakes, Vietnamese tamarind prawns, Vietnamese prawn and sweet potato fritters, Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams.
Vietnamese grilled razor clams with scallion oil
- 1 pound Atlantic razor clams
- 1/4 cup scallion, green part only, thinly sliced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tbsps toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsps fried shallot (store bought or make your own)
- 2 tbsps fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsps granulated sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 red bird's eye chili, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup scallion, thinly sliced, green parts only
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- For the scallion oil, place the oil, salt, and onion in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until the oil just starts to simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To make the fried shallots, heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan to 340 degrees F.
- Place the shallots in the oil ad cook, stirring frequently to break up the shallot, for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots from the oil and drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. Use a fork the separate any clumps to prevent them from cooking further.
- The fried shallots are best eaten the same day but will keep for 2 days in an airtight container.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine everything in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside until ready to serve.
Grilled razor clams
- Prepare a grill for medium-high direct heat.
- Place a large cast-iron or heavy stainless steel skillet on grill grates. Put the clams in the cast-iron pan and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until the shells are open.
- Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of scallion oil along with the green onion into each clam.
- Transfer the clams to a serving plate. Top with fried shallots and toasted peanuts.
- Serve the clams with dipping sauce immediately.