I was at the Wharf recently and saw what I thought were black clams. The fishermen, however, corrected me that it was actually a blood cockle. Now I’ve never heard or tasted them before so the fishermen proceeded to shuck one open on the spot. I hope to one day be able to shuck on the spot. To my surprise they were indeed bloody red inside and bloody delicious. Out of curiosity I bought some to make at home, and because I figured they’d be fun to photograph.
Blood Cockles (clams) have hard shells covered in black fuzzies. They have a milder flavor that is not as briny as their popular counterparts like cherrystone clams. At first the red brine of a Blood Cockle looks intimidating but once you slurp one of these babies you realize that it tastes just like, well, brine.
The brine of the clam is red due to the hemoglobin in the blood. This allows them to live in hypoxic areas (low oxygen) as the hemoglobin gives them better oxygen transfer. These clams are native to many waters including Asia, though importing them from China is banned due to health concerns. Though if and when they are found by fishermen in the Northeast they are safe to consume.
The fisherman told me to eat it with tomatoes, onions, and lime or lemon. A very traditional ceviche mixture and I added a serrano pepper just for some extra heat.
To be honest, I could just eat them raw and plain. I think the least tampered with their flavor is, the better. But I took his advice and the ceviche came out great. He recommended eating them with saltines, though I’m sure tortilla chips would work as well. The next time you see these don’t be afraid to try them out and change up your ceviche game – just make sure you’re okay with sharing.
filtering thoughts like a clam,