Winkles from the shore at Tyre

There were thousands of those, nudged against the rocks, either alone or in cluster; I showed them to Anne-Sophie, French and residing in Montreal, who was here on vacation and she exclaimed ” bigorneau”; apparently the French love them and eat them like mussels or clams. (They love them in the Philippines as well).

I left the group  sunbathing or reading or playing endless games of sudoku on the beach and got busy collecting a few dozens to cook at home later that day.


  • 2 pounds of winkles or clams
  • one tablespoon of coarse sea salt
  • a jigger of white wine (can substitute other seafood stock or water)
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • a bay leaf
  • a few pink peppercorns
  • a dash of paprika, a couple of cloves of garlic
  • one onion, quartered
  • a stem of lemongrass, cut in 2-inch bits
  • toast and butter or plain rice or pasta


  1. Clean the winkles in several changes of water; if possible soak them in water for a couple of hours, drain and rinse them and repeat the operation until the water is perfectly clean of debris.
  2. Drain the winkles and place in a large pot. Add about a quart of water, a cup of wine (optional), a few sprigs of parsley and all the other seasonings if available. Bring the water to a boil and count four minutes of boiling time. Remove from the heat and let them cool in the broth.
  3. Eat with a special fork or remove with a toothpick; can eat them with some buttered toast or plain rice.

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  1. Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Interesting … I will look for these here Joumana thanks for sharing!

  2. Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    An interesting shell…



  3. Posted October 4, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    What fun that you could just collect these winkles off the beach to use in a memorable meal that evening!

    Posted October 4, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I love Beirut, you never tire of it’s beauty, and you never tire of it’s food. This is a perfect seafood dish to make when friends come over after a laid back sunbathing. Serve it with a bottle of arac, is just perfect for outdoor gathering, and It will make everybody’s mouth tingle. Joumana, thank you for the amazing pictures. Tyre also has unbelievable beauty, with sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters. The little waves that toss on the shore is very majestic.

  5. Posted October 4, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I have never seen winkles or periwinkles at our beaches but I want a bowl now. I would even add one more clove of garlic than you! ;)

  6. Posted October 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I must try that recipe out, easy to buy clams here in France at reasonable prices. Diane

  7. Posted October 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Different and nice…

  8. Posted October 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Can there be anything better than harvesting from a beach and cooking it up? The flavors are just perfect… oh how I wish I could visit Lebanon after your cook’s tour!

  9. Noha Baz
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joumana;i just loved your photos and comments.

    you should try them with sesame sauce (tarator )and hamod.just boiled and serve with this typical lebanese sauce!
    there were so many of themthis week-end in Tyre..amazing!!

  10. Joumana
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    @Noha: wish i had asked you first! the tarator and lemon sounds heavenly!

  11. Posted October 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    My husband is a big fan. Similar to those we eat here in Greece raw by sqeezing a little lemon juice on them. They all say they are fabulous. I like them your way better, cooked that is.

  12. Posted October 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I used to eat snails that we harvest from the rice paddies. Not sure if I can still eat them now. It’s been a while.

  13. Posted October 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    yum i bet it is delicious. I am sure I can replace my clam linguine with wine sauce with Periwinkles. I haven’t seen them here either at the fish market or by the cold waters of California. Cheers,

  14. Posted October 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Interesting! I can eat anything coming from sea. I’m sure it’s tasty when lemon squeezed on it. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  15. Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow, those are beautiful! How fun to gather up your own food for dinner.

  16. Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen these on the rocks but never eaten them! :)

  17. Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    The big one one top is actually part of the Murex genera – the shell from which the phoenecians extracted the purple dye. How appropriate for a trip to Tyre!

  18. Posted October 5, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    pleins de jolies choses sur ton blog
    bonne journée

  19. Posted October 5, 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I had those shells when I was still a kid…that’s ages ago…my mum did a simple poach, then made some garlic-ginger based sauce for it…just delish!

  20. Posted October 5, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    In France, we eat those with Aïoli, too.

  21. Posted October 5, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Nothing like collecting your own dinner on te shore and cooking it later… true foraging!
    V alerie

  22. Posted October 5, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    perfect day at the beach, even better when you can pick your own meal, wonderful dish..


  23. Posted October 5, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if these are similar to the ones we get in Greece or Cyprus, which are eaten raw with lemon juice, but I definitely prefer them cooked,

  24. Posted October 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The winkles have such a lovely shell! What a lovely dish, full of fresh, bright flavors.

  25. Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Lovely!! Lucky you… you’re still enjoying the sun!!

  26. Posted October 6, 2010 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Dinner can’t get fresher than that! :)

  27. Posted October 6, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Joumana how amazing you can find nearly everything you want at Tyre. Simply amazing how beirut is just abundunt with food and fruits, and winkles ;) Just gorgeous. How long are you staying in Beirut for?

  28. Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve had them in France, never here though. Fun, Joumana!

  29. Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    What a delicious spectacular time and I had not heard of winkles before. Glad you are enjoying yourself.

  30. Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a wonderful time. I love it that you are getting to eat food that is so fresh :) I’ve never tasted winkles.
    *kisses* HH

  31. Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow, do they really have those in the Philippines?

  32. John Beadle
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Where is it possible to buy live winkles by the internet?

  33. Joumana
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    @John: I am sorry I have never bought winkles online. I just pick them up at the shore!

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