07/08/2010 03:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

All About Geoducks: Don't Judge an Ugly Clam by Its Cover (VIDEO)

cross posted from food. curated.

Geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck). Why aren't more Americans eating geoduck? They are native shellfish to the Pacific Northwest and grown by the millions of pounds in the same waters as oysters. So, why are they so difficult to find in most seafood markets? And why haven't most of my friends tried it? Is it because they look strange and prehistoric? Or just intimidatingly over-sized? Maybe Asians know something we don't. And maybe that's why most domestically grown geoduck crops go overseas to Asian markets. I wonder.

Well, after trying it for the first time, I can honestly say as a seafood lover I felt like I had been missing out my whole life. I tried geoduck sashimi, geoduck fritters, geoduck in chowder and geoduck ceviche in many different styles during my recent seafood adventures in Washington State. And with the image of the beast in mind, yes, my first bite was met with hesitation. But the mild flavors and exciting seafood textures they delivered made the geoduck's ugliness a lot less intimidating. So, if you ever get the chance to taste it, please don't pass up the opportunity. I think you'll be surprised how much you'll enjoy it.

Now before you buy, keep in mind there's a pretty price to pay for a geoduck. I've seen them retail anywhere from $20-$25 per pound (which could be part of the Asian allure). But once you see the back-breaking work involved in the harvest, the price makes a lot more sense. So enjoy this short piece I put together about Taylor Shellfish Farm's geoduck farm on Stretch Island in Puget Sound. They are the largest growers in the Northwest, farming the native clams from Southeast Alaska to Washington State.

If you've eaten it, I'd love to hear in the comments about your favorite preparations and what you think of the texture and taste!