The abductor muscle of the surf clam is made tender and meaty by its hard work opening and closing the clam shell and flavorful by its life in briny water. Here we pair it with our valley walnut—wood, oil, and shavings of the nut made to look like wood shavings.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 | surf clams, soaked in ice water for 1 hour
- 6 | walnut halves
- 25 grams | 1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil
- 30 grams | 1 ounce white sturgeon caviar
- walnut wood, for roasting
- Insert an oyster shucker or petty knife into the opening of a surf clam, cut as close to the shell as possible, and pull back the top shell to open fully. Cut on the other side of the shell and remove the clam completely. Repeat with the second clam. Remove the abductors from each clam and reserve the rest of each clam for another use. Rinse the abductors under cold running water and pat dry on paper towels. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). In a small pan, toast the walnuts for 6 minutes, until fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven and let the walnuts cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Place the abductors on a walnut plank and warm in the oven for 1 minute. Remove the plank from the oven and brush the abductors with the walnut oil. Place a small pile of caviar on each abductor. Using a mandoline, shave the walnuts evenly over the top of the wood plank.