And just like that, after a 70-year prohibition on wild Mexican clams, the almeja chocolata, or chocolate clam (named after the color of the shell) and the pata de mula, or blood clam (the shell contains hemoglobin), were approved for import into the U.S. from nearby Baja California.
Until a few weeks ago, this pair of game-changing delicacies weren’t on the menu anywhere in Los Angeles. A smaller and more funky-flavored variety of blood clams has been available in L.A.’s Mexican and Central American seafood restaurants, where they are excellent in cocktails, but the availability of their larger, red-fleshed cousins is welcome news. And I enjoy chocolatas regularly in Baja California—I only saw them once before the ban was lifted, at a Mexican seafood restaurant in Bell Gardens, but they were foul and had lost all of their bright red, white, and light-beige color.
Executive chef Sam Baxter of Michael Cimarusti’s Connie and Ted’s was given a sample from International Marine Products and is now serving the two clams au natural in a dish called Blood and Chocolate. “People are kind of hesitant because of the names—chocolate and blood—so we need to educate diners a bit more,” Baxter said. Catalina Offshore is also carrying both varieties, and on Kiriko Sushi’s Facebook page, sushi master Ken Namba wrote, “The third shipment of AKAGAI bloody clams, from Mexico came this morning. Needless to add, it is VERY FRESH!”
To read the rest of the story, please go to: Los Angeles Magazine