Horseneck clams, also called gaper or empire clams, are known for their large size and unusually long neck. They are common on the coast of the American Northwest. On average, mature horseneck clam shells are 6 to 8 inches long, and the cooking preparation differs from smaller clam varieties. While small clams are often steamed and eaten whole, horseneck clams are opened before they're cooked, cleaned and cut, then added to recipes such as chowders, cakes or clams casino. When not added to a recipe, horseneck clams are often breaded and fried.

Slide the knife into the opening of the shell of one of the horseneck clams, about 1 inch deep. Move the knife around the edge of the clam under the neck to cut through the muscles.

Open the clam shell and remove the insides. Cut off the neck, slice the clam open and rinse out the dark material. Cut off and discard the gills, then cut the cleaned clam into strips.

Remove the brown skin from the neck with a knife. Pound the skinned neck meat with a wooden mallet to tenderize it.

Repeat steps 2 to 4 with the remaining clams.

Rinse the clams. Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour; then the egg, and the breadcrumbs while you heat 1 inch of vegetable to 325 degrees F in a heavy frying pan.

Place the breaded clams into the heated oil one at a time. Fry for about 1 minute per side, then remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.


Serve fried horseneck clams as a main course with lemon and hot sauce, or as a sandwich on a hot dog or hamburger bun.


Be careful about hot splattering oil when you place the first clams into the frying pan.

About the Author

Daisy Cuinn

Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.