Giant Clams!

     While on Palmerston Island, Emmett and I went hunting for giant clams with the islanders.  The matriarch of the family had declared her wish for a dinner of giant clam curry for Mother's day, and her family was not about to disappoint her.  We had been admiring these beautiful creatures throughout Polynesia, but it had never occurred to me that they might be as tasty as they are pretty.

     Due to over-harvesting, the Giant Clam is becoming threatened in some areas, but it is certainly plentiful in many of the areas we've visited so far.  They don't travel far, so I can see how local harvesting pressure could easily make them endangered on any given island.  They can live for a hundred years and grow to have shells of 3-4 feet across--which led to some old wives tales in the past of "killer clams" snapping shut on a diver and drowning them.  But it's pretty unusual to find one more than 6-8 inches in size.  It took us about an hour to pry a meal-ful from the seabed, then open and clean them.  Cooking is a woman's activity in the very traditional island of Palmerston, so my interest in exactly what was going on in the cooking hut was met with some skepticism.  So here is my best estimate of our delicious and memorable Mother's Day dinner:

Giant Clam Curry

1 lb. giant clam meat, cleaned and coarsely chopped

1 large onion

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Cup fresh coconut cream

2 Tsp curry powder

salt to taste

     Saute clams and onions in butter until onions just start to soften.  Add coconut cream, curry, and salt.  Simmer until done.  Serve over white rice.