Whelks are an aquatic snail similar to the periwinkles you can see on rocks up and down the East Coast at low tide. Whelks are larger and meatier, and they're a common pub food throughout Great Britain. They are naturally chewy, but have a rich flavor. Whelks are often pickled in vinegar and spices, or tenderized with a mallet for use in chowder or other seafood dishes. In most cases, they are first steamed to cook the whelk meat.
Fill a large bowl with your whelks and rinse them in several changes of water.
Run water into a steamer up to the fill line, or put a steamer insert into a pot with a tight-fitting lid and fill it until water touches the bottom of the steamer insert.
Bring the pot to a boil, or turn on the steamer. Once a plume of steam begins to escape, remove the lid and pour in the rinsed whelks. Cover the pot again, and begin timing once steam visible again.
Steam the whelks for 10 to 15 minutes, or 20 minutes if they are large.
Serve the hot whelks immediately with clarified butter for dipping, or sprinkle them with salt and malt vinegar. Serve with a "winkle pick," a utensil designed for prying snails from their shells, or a bamboo skewer.
How to Cook Prawns in a Oven
How to Cook Large Prawns
How to Cook Crawfish
How to Cook Jonah Crabs
How to Cook Fresh Snails From the Ocean
How to Boil Conch in the Shell
How to Cook Blue Crab
How to Cook Shrimp to Serve Chilled
How to Steam Lobster & Shrimp
How to Prepare Live Crawfish
How to Steam Littleneck Clams
How to Cook Oysters on the Stove
How to Cook Langostinos
How to Cook a Pot of Steamers
How to Devein Tiger Prawns
How to Cook Dried Chickpeas Without a ...
How to Freeze Ramps & Wild Leeks
How to Cook Kale Raab
How to Cook Puerto Rican Style Pinchos
How to Cook Haddock Roe
- Overcooked whelks become extremely rubbery. If you have the misfortune to overcook yours, tenderize them with a mallet and chop them finely for use in a chowder.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and prolific freelance writer. In previous careers, he sold insurance and mutual funds, and was a longtime retailer. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. His articles have appeared on numerous home and garden sites including GoneOutdoors, TheNest and eHow.
Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images