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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Whelk Salad “Persillade”

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

Whelks appeared on the stall for the second time this year! Not to everyone's taste, least of all Bridget's! In fact while we were waiting for the 9am bell I asked Bridget how long she boils whelks for. She said: "I don't! I throw them in the bin!"

What inspired me to create this recipe? Certainly at some point I came to hear about the traditional seaside shacks selling tubs of shellfish or jellied eels dressed with malt vinegar and white pepper. And certainly I have long been familiar with the French dish of “Escargots à la Bourguignonne”: snails served with garlic and parsley butter. So, I suppose all that happened was I looked at a whelk as the sea snail that it is, and the rest of the ingredients followed.

I haven’t given quantities in most cases for this one because the ingredients can very easily be adjusted according to taste, and according to the number the dish should serve. I think this makes a simple but quite unusual starter.

Whelk Salad “Persillade”


Cooked whelks (see note), chilled

Robust lettuce leaves, e.g. cos or little gem

Other salad leaves, e.g. Frisée or rocket (optional)

Garlic cloves (approx. one per person), peeled

White peppercorns, lightly crushed


White wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and ground white pepper


  1. 1. Gently crush the garlic cloves and cut into large pieces. Put the cut garlic cloves in a ramekin or small bowl with the crushed white peppercorns, and cover with sufficient vinegar to use for a dressing. Leave to infuse for about an hour.

  2. Meanwhile remove the whelk meats from the shells, remove any undesirable bits and chop the remaining meat into 1cm chunks.

  3. Shortly before serving, coarsely shred the lettuce and any other salad leaves and place in a large bowl. Lightly dress with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

  4. Strain the vinegar into a small jug and retrieve the pieces of garlic from the strainer.

  5. Finely chop the garlic pieces and parsley together to form the “Persillade”. Place this in a small mixing bowl and whisk in the desired quantity of the vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to form a “Persillade” dressing.

  6. Add the whelk chunks to the leaves and drizzle the “Persillade” dressing over the salad.

  7. Toss the salad and season with salt and ground white pepper.


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