Winkles on Toast
Serves 4 as a starter or more as an appetiser
1kg (2lb 4oz) winkles
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
The juice of 1-2 lemons
4tbsp olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt
Farmhouse loaf or soda bread
If you are using fresh winkles that haven’t been prepared by your fishmonger, you’ll need to clean them thoroughly. Rinse in cold water then place in a bowl of fresh cold water with 1-2tbsp flour – this will help remove any sand and gritty bits. Rinse once more. Plunge into a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle carefully pick out the winkles using a dressmaker’s pin.
Kids love doing this – the trick is to slightly twist them to get them out whole. Remove the tough ‘foot’ attached to the top of each winkle, then place into a clean bowl. Mix in the garlic, parsley and lemon juice (to taste) and stir in the olive oil. Add a good pinch of sea salt.
When ready to serve, cut the bread into slices and toast to your liking. Cut the toast into triangular pieces and serve on a large board or platter with the winkles in a large bowl for everyone to help themselves.
Jane says... Winkles, which I used in the MasterChef final, remind me of my childhood when we used to get beautiful fresh ones from the fish man at the market for Sunday tea.
My dad was horrified when I did this – to his mind winkles should be served with malt vinegar, white pepper and white bread and butter, which is how we ate them as children.