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.