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Dock to Dish: A Seafood Blog.
Chocolate clams or
almejas chocolatas are often referred to as "Baja's seafood candy". Named for the uniform brown color of its shell rather than
any chocolate flavor, the meaty Mexican chocolate clam is one of the largest West Coast bivalves, reaching about 5 to 6 inches across. Chocolate clams are
harvested in and around in Mexico in all coastal lagoons from Magdalena Bay south along the Pacific side of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and along
the coast of the mainland to Guatemala where they colonize in sandy bottoms in very large, dense populations. Until recently, export regulations had made
highly sought-after chocolate clams almost impossible to find outside of Baja.
When preparing chocolate clams, a simple escabeche (lightly marinated in citrus and served live or cold) works well for a half shell presentation, as does
Loreto-style: baked with a layer of Monterey Jack cheese, garlic, chipotle and butter. They also work well in soups, salads or thrown on the grill.