Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Razor clam heaven
Even before I had ever tasted them, I knew I would love razor clams. I loved the way they looked at Maceiras in Madrid, at the table next to us, I loved the way they looked in the markets with their long, slim shells and the clam body sticking out at the end like a tongue. I just didn’t know how much I would love them until I finally tried them at Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo in Barcelona.
Paco Meralgo is a spruced-up tapas bar in the L’Eixample neighborhood with no tables, but blond wood counters running all around and through the restaurant and plenty of bar stools. It’s quick and it’s busy, bustling with good food and happy people. Anne and I were overwhelmed by the Catalan menu, and frankly, by the Castilian menu as well, but our waiter kindly made a few recommendations to fill out our dinner beyond razor clams.
We loved the three kinds of setas or wild mushrooms, liberally drizzled with olive oil, especially an inky-black one that looked as crinkled as seaweed. Based on the signs we read in La Boqueria, we think they were “trompetas de la mort.” We enjoyed more croquetas and the crunchy, thin tortillitas de camarones, studded with tiny bits of shrimp.
But the first bite I had of my razor clam was like heaven. It tasted salty like the sea, with so much chewy flavor and none of the bitter graininess that you sometimes find in clams. It was seriously succulent. It was possibly one of the top ten most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.
I liked it so much that I licked my razor clamshell from one end to the other, to get all the juice. When Anne saw what I was doing, she offered me her second razor clam, saying that I was enjoying it so much more than she was. Normally, I would be polite and refuse but I couldn’t. I ate three, she ate one.
I really love Anne, I really do.