When Chef Laiskonis agreed to do the guest chef dinner and demo a few weeks ago, I expected to have some challenging ingredients on my shopping list. Hydrocolloids - check; Six different types of chocolate - check; Buddha Hand Fruit - check; Geoduck Clams! - Couldn't find them anywhere. I started with my three main fish purveyors and none of them had any luck sourcing them. I tried a
couple of fed-ex companies and only came up with farm raised Geoducks from Baja which wouldn't do. In a last effort I asked one of my friends to stop by an Asian live seafood market in the South Bay. Sure enough they had a few giant geoducks sitting in an aerated tank. For the precious price of
$30 per pound he bought me four.
Geoducks are prized in many parts of Asia, fetching upwards of a hundred dollars per pound for prime specimens. Their appeal is a crisp texture, clean-sweet flavor and an appearance that can only be described as surreally phallic. We have a similar species of Clam that lives in the brackish waters of the Elkhorn Slough called Horseneck Clams. At low tide you can see the clams squirting water along the slough banks, then rapidly digging themselves into the sand with any hit of danger. Unfortunately I don't believe these are commercially available, but would love to get a fishing license and try to catch a few.
I wish I could have gone to the live market in person last week, but unfortunately we were all too busy to take a morning off. It is always inspiring to think about the number of ingredients that are available when you take the time to find them. In the next couple of weeks I want to take my sous chefs, Willy and Jacob, on a culinary tour of the ethnic markets in the Bay Area, in search of new and exciting ingredients.