Friday

Off Spooting. And writing prompts.

The Port Talbot Old and New Facebook page is a regular meeting place for me now. We share and discuss our memories, complaints, events, concerns, photographs and research. Sometimes I learn things about the town that come as a surprise. I might not be able to reference them in Real Port Talbot  - due out next year - (RPT won't be a local history book, or a guide book, or a memoir, but it does draw on all of those things) but they still add to my relationship with the town and might even spring open a new research direction for me.

A post this morning, started by Brenda Turner, has done just that, and thanks to a photo added by Nigel Eley, I am now on a mission. A Razor Clam mission. Or spoots, as Brenda calls them.

(Aside: I Googled spoots and found this great blog, Gastrobeach (how good a title is that?) and here's their post on spoots: These spoots are made for wok-ing. I wish I'd thought of that first.)

My dad used to dig up razor clams when the tide was out on Aberafan Beach and use them for fishing bait. I've seen them used in a couple of trendy dishes during the course of the Masterchef series but hadn't thought of cooking them myself, until now.

I think I'm going to need a fisherman to help me out here though. At the moment I have visions of sprinkling salt at the little bubble holes in a patch of wet sand and waiting for a razor clam to shoot upwards and for me to catch it like a baton. Maybe. Maybe not.

But I have a recipe, courtesy of Brenda, who, although I only know her via Facebook, sounds like an expert forager, past and present:

I soak them in lightly salted water, then use this method for cooking, still in their shells, oh and garlic, parsley and a splash of white wine doesn't hurt. A nice way of doing them is in a ribbed steak griddle pan. Get the pan fairly hot and then angle the spoots into the spars of the griddle and it will help keep them closed for long enough. Cook them for a minute to 90 seconds in butter and wine, then take the spoots out and put the pan back on the heat, reduce the juices and add butter and chopped herbs. Serve them as they are, with just the spoots and a little of the juice. And get away from the idea that it has to be piping hot to serve, that’s often when you ruin the fish.

There weren't any photos on Gastrobeach so I googled again and found these, courtesy of Galloway Wild Foods, another great blog.

spoots or razor clams
There's no getting away from the fact that they do look better clothed.

marinated spoots

I know what you're thinking, and you're right: a bit penile. Nothing that a sharp knife can't remedy. Sorry, guys.

Now all I need is a patient, friendly fisherman. If I go down to the Prom and Pier in search of one I hope I don't give the wrong impression. Once, when I was staying with friends in a small town near Atlanta, Georgia, USA, I offered to help the log-man unload and stack the logs from his pick-up. I had no idea of the impression this offer to help had made on him until he returned in  his pick-up truck the next day, wearing his best dungarees, checked shirt and baseball cap, and invited me for a ride into the Appalachians, which was probably the rural-Georgian equivalent of a marriage proposal.


Hungry Writing Prompts
  1. Write about belonging.
  2. Write about a photograph you remember.
  3. Write about sand.
  4. Write about patience.
  5. Write about going on a date with someone you don't know.