Only As Sharp As Your Knife

Large clam knife.

By Kyle Sturmann

Here on the East End, seafood is central to the local cuisine. While preparing shellfish like clams and crabs the way your favorite restaurants do may seem intimidating, it’s easy to do so with the right tools. These six knives, made my R. Murphy Knives and sold at Henry Persan’s & Son in Sag Harbor, will make shellfish shucking at home easy.

Large clam knife.
Large clam knife.

Large Clam Knife
This knife has a 3 ¼ -inch by ¾-inch blade ferruled to a round hardwood handle. It is larger than the Small Clam Knife and Little Neck Knife and is available in carbon or stainless steel. Like Murphy’s other stainless steel blades, it should not be put in the dishwasher and should instead be washed with steel wool or a household cleaner.

Littleneck Clam Knife
The Little Neck Clam Knife’s blade, which is 3 inches long and ½ inch wide, is made of

420HC High Carbon Stainless Steel and its handle is made of Bubinga (African Rosewood). The blade has a sharpened edge for opening the clam and its tip is rounded to fit gently against the thumb.

Bay Scallop knife.
Bay Scallop knife.

Bay Scallop Knife
This knife’s hardwood handle is riveted to the shorter 2 ¼ inch stainless steel blade. The small, dull blade allows the user to safely cut open bay scallop shells, which grow no more than 3 inches in width. The knife is also effective for removing the dark membrane that surrounds the scallop within the shell.

New Haven Shucker

Named “Best Oyster Knife” by “America’s Test Kitchen,” this knife has a maple handle and 2 ⅝ inch blade. The curved tip allows for excellent leverage for opening at the clam’s hinge. It also allows the blade to ride high inside the oyster, making it easier to avoid damaging the meat. Murphy’s has been making this acclaimed knife for 100 years.

New York Shucker
The New York Shucker oyster knife has a long stainless steel blade of 4 ½ inches and a maple handle that is large and rounded. The thick, dull blade, more sturdy than a regular knife, acts as a lever to pry apart the shells. The heavy handle exerts the right amount of pressure to allow this.

Crab Meat Knife
The Crab Meat Knife is 5 ¾ inches in length. It is made heavy in order to crack through shells and claws. The 2 ¼ inch blade is very sharp so that the user can pick the meat. The knife is made entirely of stainless steel that has been hardened and ground.