Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dan's Clam Stand - Crystal River

After a morning of swimming with the manatees, I drove by Dan's Clam Stand
located at 2315 N. Sunshine Path in Crystal River, Florida (352-795-9081) and stopped to look at the menu. 
The item "piss clams" caught my eye - I'd never heard of them before. Piss clams are soft-shell clams, also called longnecks, steamers and softshells, found along the eastern coast of the United States and Canada buried in mud on tidal mudflats. I ordered a pound, steamed, to go. 
When I got them, the waitress asked if I knew how to eat them. My curiosity piqued, I said "no," and she proceeded to show me. She opened the styrofoam carry-out box and I was surprised by the look of the clams.  The outside shell was ordinary enough, but the clams inside were creamy white, kind of long, fatty, 
and had a long, black elephant trunk-like protrusion, 
much like geoduck (or gooey duck) I've seen in the Pacific Northwest, just not anywhere near as large.
She pulled the clam out of the shell, then dipped and swished it around in the clam broth it was cooked in. 
This was to rinse away any sand. Then she peeled the dark covering off the protrusion (it came off easily). 
She said it would be a lot tougher if it was not taken off. Then she dipped the clam in melted better and I plopped it in my mouth. 
TREMENDOUS! The bottom portion of the clam, in particular, was very plump, juicy and tender. The texture was pleasing and the taste was tremendous, as the mixture of claminess and butter infused in my mouth. There was no rubbery texture that I often associate with clams and there was a plumpness that I associate with good mussels, but even more so and better. 

These were the bast clams I've ever eaten. They were on par with some of the best mussels I've ever eaten (one of my favorite dishes) and I would take them over lobster.


  1. Where in the world did that name come from? Or is it better not to know??

    1. They apparently squirt sea water out of the protrusion when people or animals get close to them. I thought you ought to know.

  2. Having grown up on the eastern shore of Maryland, I absolutely love these clams. This is an excellent description and recipe. Wow!! They are so good.
    What I didn't know until recently is that they have been successfully transplanted to the West Coast in WA & OR. Problem is I can't find them commercially.