How to Cook Periwinkles

Periwinkles, high angle view

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Like most shellfish, periwinkles make you work for the delicious bits of meat they provide. The meal is worth the effort, though, because these tiny snails are a good source of protein, copper and zinc. They also are easy on the digestive system in comparison to eggs, fish and meat. Serve them as a light appetizer or chill them after cooking and incorporate them into a healthy bed of greens for a flavorful salad.

Simple Snack

Rinse the periwinkles thoroughly to clean them.

Place them in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, and then remove them immediately.

Poke the meat with a pin or skewer to pull it out of the shell. Dip it in garlic butter for additional flavor.

Large Appetizer

Cover 2 lbs. of periwinkles with water and mix in 1 cup of cornmeal. Pour out the water in about 30 minutes, retaining as much of the cornmeal in the pot as you can. Cover them with fresh water and allow them to soak another 30 minutes. Then drain them.

Cover them with water and 2 tbsp. of vinegar in a medium saucepan. After bringing them to a boil, lower the heat and let them simmer for about 15 minutes or until the meat easily slips from the shell with a pin.

Melt a stick of butter in a separate saucepan, and stir in a tablespoon of minced garlic. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the snails and toss them with enough of the garlic butter to give them a light coating. Serve them with the remaining butter as a dipping sauce.