Sometimes the best foraging is right at home–in this case, in the very back of the freezer. I was digging around for razor clams to cook for Christmas dinner and came up with a long-lost package of hot-smoked king salmon bellies from 2015. September 2015, to be more exact, meaning they were more than a year old. I thawed ’em out and, incredibly, they were delicious. Perfect. Still firm, still dripping with fat, still smoky and salty and awesome.
And looking at the date, I remembered fishing Willapa Bay with my good friend Sweeney, and how the pelicans posed on pilings outside the harbor that morning, and how the sky turned black with sooty shearwaters in the evening. And how we had to scratch to find our kings, and how stoked we were when we put a couple nice ones in the box. Amazing what you can find in the back of the freezer.
A brief lull in the weather, a decent minus tide and a razor clam opener on the Washington coast. What better way to spend a December evening than chasing clams and kids around a windswept surf line in the dark? Especially with great friends. Too much fun.
The lull in the weather was key. When morning rain gave way to clearing skies and slackening breeze, Sweeney and I grabbed our kids and ran for the beach. That the Sweeney girls would take a break from teen-age activities and hang out grubbing around in wet sand with the smaller kids, me and her old man gives me hope for the future. The Sweeney/Tomine Razor Crew above, armed and dangerous.
High surf and tide earlier in the day had the clams deep and a little more challenging to find, but we stuck it out and filled our bags with what has to be the most delicious bivalve in the world. On the long drive home, the girls chattered, Weston slept (of course) and we all looked forward to a warm dinner. There were piles of wet, sandy gear to deal with and clams to clean, but I think we would all agree it was more than worth it.