Patella vulgata

All about LIMPET


Patella vulgata


French: patelle; bernique
Portuguese: lapas

Worldwide Recipes

    Recipes from Madeira
    • Limpets with Garlic Butter
    • Limpet Escabèche
    • Rice with Limpets


Etymology: Old English lempedu from medieval Latin lampreda

Sub-class: Prosobranchia (gill-breathing snails)

Size: approximately 5 cm

Limpets are univalve gastropod mollusks, extremely common on European coastal rocks. They have a characteristic recognizable Chinese-hat shape with a very rough shell.

Cooking tips

  • Wash the limpets well; insert the point of a knife to open the shell and detach the mollusk;
  • remove any dark sections; place the limpet on a work surface and tap it firmly with a wooden kitchen mallet to tenderize it without crushing it;
  • ideally, do not collect limpets during low tide when they have been uncovered too long;
  • though very common, limpets are rarely used in cuisine because the cooking is tricky. Overcooked for a few seconds and the flesh starts to toughen;
  • in Madeira, limpets are a traditional hors-d'oeuvre; the "lapas" are placed in sizzling garlic butter and become perfectly cooked in the time it takes to get from the kitchen to the table



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