Winkles from the shore at Tyre

October 4, 2010  •  Category:


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.


33 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Heni says:

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

  2. Rosa says:

    An interesting shell…



  3. T.W. Barritt says:

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

  4. SYLVIA says:

    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. peter says:

    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. Diane says:

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

  7. deana says:

    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!

  8. Noha Baz says:

    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!!

  9. Katerina says:

    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.

  10. elra says:

    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.

  11. heguiberto says:

    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,

  12. zerrin says:

    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.

  13. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

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

  14. Lorraine @ Not Quite says:

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

  15. zaatar says:

    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!

  16. valerie de familyblo says:

    pleins de jolies choses sur ton blog
    bonne journée

  17. Angie's Recipes says:

    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!

  18. meredith says:

    In France, we eat those with Aïoli, too.

  19. A Canadian Foodie says:

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

  20. sweetlife says:

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


  21. Ivy says:

    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,

  22. Faith (An Edible Mos says:

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

  23. Cherine says:

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

  24. Jyothsna says:

    Dinner can’t get fresher than that! 🙂

  25. joudie kalla says:

    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?

  26. Barbara says:

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

  27. OysterCulture says:

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

  28. Heavenly Housewife says:

    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

  29. momgateway says:

    Wow, do they really have those in the Philippines?

  30. John Beadle says:

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

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