Monday 23 April 2012

How To Prepare Whelks

Whelks AKA Sea Snails
Usually you will find that whelks are cooked and taken out of their shells when you buy them, there's only a tiny amount of preparation that needs to be done to serve these.

Ready To Prep
  • Peel back the top layer to show the raised bit
how to prepare whelks
The Smooth Bit With No Speckles
  • Dig a fork under the raised bit
removing the whelk worm
Get Stuck In
  • Press your thumb firmly on top and pull
how to remove whelk worm
It's Like Alien
  • Out will pop a horrible worm like thing 
whelk worm
Yup, Alien
  •  Put into a colander and wash under cold water
washed whelks
A Good Rinse
That's all the preparation that cooked whelks need. I can't believe how many people eat whelks with the worm thing still in them, from what I can gather because I've never eaten it, it's full of sand and well, yuck, I don't want to be eating that!

whelks in a bowl
And Serve
You can of course buy live whelks and cook them yourself, but as with all shellfish (minus prawns, I always cook my own prawns for recipes, the pre-cooked ones are for eating alone) I buy mine all pre-cooked for an easier life.

Traditionally in these parts you would serve them with a splash of non brewed condiment and a sprinkle of white pepper. As neither of these agree with me I like nothing more than to dip them in a brine, either from olives, capers or the lovely pickle vinegar you get from jars of pickled onions and gherkins. Call me odd if you like!

Happy Days.


  1. Hi
    Is there an art in removing the whole whelk, mine tend to break leaving lots of the whelk inside? I cook them for 12 minutes, many thanks...

    1. A small screwdriver should do the trick. Push it firmly inside the whelk and pull out of the shell.


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