Our Maine Mahogany clams (Arctica islandica) are a terrific alternative to the ever-popular quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria). For those of you unfamiliar with the virtues of the mahogany clam (aka ocean quahog, golden neck, black clam)…The mahoganies possess a flavor composition which is similar to that of the quahog, only slightly stronger; and a substantially higher salinity. I would highly recommend the mahoganies in any pasta dish, especially those that are driven by rich, flavorful, bases. What I’m getting at here is that the exaggerated flavors inherent to the mahoganies will complement (rather than get lost in) more robust dishes. The brine and liquor that is released as the clam is cooked brings a whole new dimension of flavor to the whole dish. How about suggesting to your chefs that they juxtapose mahoganies and quahogs in the same entree? What a great idea! The dark brown shells will enhance the plate’s aesthetic appeal and presentation value, while simultaneously reducing food cost. How can you fight with that?
Our mahogany clams are coming in at roughly a 8-10 count (per pound), and are available in 35-pound units. The Maine mahogany clam fishery is open year-round, and availability has historically been incredibly consistent. Our mahogany clams are harvested from the deep waters off the coast of Addison, Maine. Immediately following harvest, the mahoganies are placed in a top-water suspension so they may purge themselves of any impurities (sand, grit, etc.). The mahoganies may be held in the clean, cold Gulf of Maine waters more or less indefinitely. The clams may be held here more or less indefinitely, continuing to flush themselves and bolster their constitution in the constant flow of nutrient rich water. Additionally, should inclement weather appear eminent, our friends in Addison can harvest mahoganies prior to the storm, and hold product in the relatively well protected confines of the coastal shallows.
Upon receipt of the mahogany clams, you should care for them as you would any other hard-shelled clam. That is to say, upon receipt, the mahoganies should be immediately placed in refrigeration (ideally between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to note that the mahogany clams should not be iced. As the ice melts, clams will absorb the fresh water, and their life expectancy will be significantly reduced. The nylon-mesh bag that the mahoganies are shipped in serves as an ideal storage container for the clams until they are introduced to the Mise en place. The elasticity of the bag combined with the collective mass of the mahoganies provides a fair amount of pressure, thereby allowing the mahoganies to relax their adductors, and effectively save their strength. Additionally, the mesh sacking provides a level of drainage that is unparalleled in the industry. If the mahoganies are stored under proper conditions, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be in fine condition for at the very least 10 days after receipt. If a clam’s shell is ajar, squeeze it together. If the shell remains closed, the clam is fine. If the shells spring apart when the pressure is released, pitch the clam in question intro the rubbish.
Our Mahogany clams are available on a year-round basis. As with so many products we at J.P.’s Shellfish offer, a pre-order is not an absolute necessity. However…If you are coming in for any sort of substantial volume, and have the ability pre-order, it will be greatly appreciated. Ideally, we will learn what to expect of each other, and if volumes warrant it, will work together to establish a standing order in the system which can (of course) be adjusted at any time…But helps us to plan accordingly.