Monday, 12 May 2008

Eating winkles with a pin

Spent most of Sunday on the south beach at Bridlington.

Fish and chips taste pretty good in a beach tent when you've been swimming in the North Sea and need some stodge. (Must be the Yorkshire terroir again.)
The 1912 sailing coble the Three Brothers was out in the morning, criss-crossing the bay. After lunch we headed into town to see her in the harbour. One of the fishmongers near the harbour was selling bags of winkles for 80p, complete with pin.
Eating winkles is fun. First you use the pin to flick off the operculum, the shell-like trapdoor that covers the opening. Then you root around with the pin to find the winkle and pull it out. They're narrow and fragile towards the end so you have to go very, very carefully to get them out intact.
It's best not to look too closely at them, because they look gunky and snotty and not the kind of thing you would really want to eat. But the taste is great - delicate, fresh and salty, with none of the rubberiness of whelks or mussels. They slip down like tiny oysters.
The MCS gives winkles a rating of 2, which means 'sustainable - eat more!' As if I needed an excuse.

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