Grilled Limpets with Green Mojo
grilled limpets on a griddle pan

Grilled Limpets with Green Mojo

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
grilled limpets on a griddle pan

🇪🇸 En español: Lapas a la Plancha

Apparently, one of the local’s favourite choices to start a meal, grilled limpets are very popular in the Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira. Seasoned with garlic and butter and served straight from the grill with lemon on the side.

cooked limpets

I can’t say I’ve ever thought of eating them but there’s a first time for everything. I have tried using them for bait when fishing from the shore but even the fish didn’t seem that interested.

Famine Food

In modern history, limpets have had a reputation as a famine food, being mentioned during both the Irish potato famine and the Highland clearances. Forced to eat whatever was available, coastal communities would take limpets from the shoreline.

Limpets are one of the most abundant and familiar features of coastlines all around the world. Their ability to cling stubbornly to rocks is well known as anyone who has tried to prise one off will know.

common limpets on a rock

Medical Research

Surprisingly, limpets are being used in medical research as their proteins are being researched as a potential treatment for both bladder cancer, lupus and asthma.

common limpets


Limpets ‘teeth’ are composed of geothite, the strongest material known in nature, and there is ongoing research for next-generation technologies because of their abrasion resistance.

limpet teeth under an electron microscope
Scanning electron microscope image of limpet teeth © University of Portsmouth

Limpet teeth have recently overtaken spider silk as the world’s strongest known biological structure.


There have been some suggestions of limpets potentially being farmed as a future food source rather than harvesting the coastal population. Researchers believe the limpets grazing the rocks perform an important role in the tidal ecosystem.

There is some doubt as to the feasibility of farming limpets as they are slow growing and it may not be practical.


bag of frozen limpets
Bag of frozen limpets

Rather like whelks, limpets are popular in Asian cuisine with tinned ones fetching a premium. I don’t know whether tinned ones are available in the UK, but Madeira is now exporting frozen limpets.

A distributor in Jersey is advertising them but only for local delivery.

bucket with collected limpets
Foraging for limpets

Seeing as they don’t seem to be commercially available I am going to have to forage some for myself next time I visit the coast. Perhaps I can surprise our next dinner guests. Watch this space.

Failing that the grilled limpets will have to wait until our next visit to Gran Canaria.

Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..

grilled limpets on a griddle pan

Grilled Limpets with Green Mojo

Season with garlic and butter and serve straight from the grill with lemon on the side.
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: 🇪🇸 Spanish
Keyword: limpets, shellfish, Spanish
Difficulty: Very Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Richard


  • 20 Limpets can be more if the molluscs are small.
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh parsley.
  • 50 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • Wash the limpets well until they are completely free of sand, dirt, moss, etc., and drain them.
  • Put the parsley, a small spoonful of coarse sea salt and the peeled garlic cloves in a mortar until a paste is formed. Then add the extra virgin olive oil and stir well to mix.
  • Put the limpets on a grill or iron plate with the shells facing down and pour the green mojo over them.
  • Cook them over a high heat until you see that the meat has come off the shells and they are ready to serve. Wait a few minutes for them to warm up and serve them immediately to taste them at their best.


Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.03g

You may also like one of my other recipes …

stir fried whelks
Stir Fried Whelks
Whelks in an oriental stir fry with crispy noodles.
Check out this recipe
seafood linguine
Seafood Linguine
Al dente linguine pasta served with squid, mussels and prawns in a creamy white wine sauce.
Check out this recipe
spanish style clams
Almejas a la Marinera (Spanish Style Clams)
An authentic recipe for almejas a la marinera, often served as a Spanish appetizer at Christmas dinner. These Spanish style clams are addictive, so make lots!
Check out this recipe
Grandads Cookbook may reference or include sections of text and images reproduced courtesy of:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating