Eating limpets

I was at the beach today and decided to gather a few limpets. I have previously written about eating chitons and thought limpets may be similar. I know they are eaten in Italy, usually with pasta, so I thought I would cook and try a few. The local limpet is Cellana tramoserica, the Variegated Limpet, and is common on rocky foreshores here on the Sunshine Coast.

Limpets, like chitons, are quite difficult to get off the rocks, a thin blade and a quick action are necessary, once they clamp down on the rock they are nearly impossible to dislodge. I decided to just get half a dozen as I had no idea what they tasted like and I didn’t plan to cook them as a meal, only a taste. Just before cooking I removed the flesh from the shell by running a knife around the inside of the shell.  An Italian friend had given me a few tips on recipes which involved garlic, tomatoes, onions and wine, but I doubt I could have tasted the limpets, so I just quickly pan fried them.

The limpets tasted very much like mussels, which I love, and I think could be used as a substitute in many dishes. Unfortunately, similar to chitons, the feet of the limpets were quite rubbery, but not so bad as to be inedible. Perhaps a different cooking method might tenderise them. I will certainly eat them again.

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3 responses to “Eating limpets

  1. Next time, at the beach, clean the foot out of the shell and eat it raw. Very much like fresh clams. Salty, a bit chewy (bigger ones seem more tender), Really fresh tasting. I have not cooked with them yet, but soon will.

  2. I agree I often eat raw limpets when I am fishing from the shoreline they are very tasty. I just run my thumbnail around the inside to take out the flesh and will eat several in a sitting.

  3. We ordered a Paella in Lanzarote and it was full of Limpets along with other seafood. I had no idea what they were and as the Restaurant owner couldn’t speak very good English, we just ate them. They did taste like Mussels and they were quite nice…

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