Limpets a Madeiran speciality and recipe

Limpets a Madeiran speciality and recipe

Uma dose de lapas por favor!

Not many people even know what a Limpet is never mind frying it in a pan and eating it. Non seafood folk could take a look at it and say that it belongs on Fear Factor. But in Madeira this is definitely a speciality, being very famous among both locals and visitors.

Limpets, better known in Portuguese as lapas, are a special shellfish variety with only one shell that survives only in clear sea waters, providing it with a unique flavour.

While cooking, limpets are turned up in a proper frying pan. Their taste is highlighted by small drops of fresh lemon.

If plain lemon isn’t good enough we have added a recipe that anyone could easily perfect. Here is Grilled Limpets / Lapas grelhadas Azores Style


  • Limpets (10, medium size, per person)
  • ½ package of salted butter
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Hot chilli paste (q.s)


  1. Soak the limpets in water and salt for a few hours, so they release the sand they may have.
  2. Finely chop the garlic cloves and reserve.
  3. Place the limpets on a grill, with the shell backwards, so the sauce does not spill.
  4. Pour over each limpet 1 pinch of chopped garlic, 1 coffee spoon of chilli paste and a chunk of butter.
  5. In S. Jorge Island, cumin seed is also added.
  6. Grill the limpets until they start detaching from the shell.
  7. Serve them whilst hot, in the recipient they were grilled in, with good quality bread.