Do you know the expression, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”? Well there are a grand total of two ways (that I know of) to skin a geoduck.
What’s a geoduck? It’s a kind of clam, pronounced “gooey duck,” and is very much not a duck. Each geoduck costs about $45 and for clams they’re huge. The season is also very short for them in their native Pacific Northwest waters where they bury themselves in sand and live, potentially, over 100 years.
You’ll see them on menus only in the west coast area, often in high-end sushi places that give you a few tiny, crunchy slivers. There’s nothing amazing about the fairly neutral flavour, but the texture is fun. You can eat the mantle and the shaft, but first you need to take the skin off.It’s a bit like shucking oysters, in that there’s a shell and you should eat it raw, but most people blanch it to get the skin off once the shell is removed, and that’s where our oyster comparison ends.
Some people who have kitchen torches prefer to use those to retain more of the geoduck juices otherwise lost to the blanching water. Some people like modernist cuisine chefs do this, I mean. Not that a kitchen torch is a modernist thing, but they generally have them hanging around for when they want to brown things after cooking them sous vide (it turns a rubbery looking chicken into a crisp-skinned treat).
The magic here is what happens after the video. Chef Sam Fahey-Burke explains the modernist way of preparing geoduck, by placing it in a vacuum sealed bag, pounding it thin, then slicing it into long, flexible noodles. Then to serve they wrap the gently warmed (in a steam oven I believe, but not cooked) “noodles” around each other and serve it on top of diced geoduck mantle with some onions or shallots and garlic confit (or is it roasted?) and drowned in a rich bagna cauda of reduced clam juice or fish broth. So the noodles snap a little, but aren’t rubbery like overcooked squid, and they’re not mushy or gritty or unsatisfying like zucchini noodles. Hence they are the best gluten-free pasta noodles around. Sorry vegans.