Sea snails, a special bite

In the menu of Es Torrent we usually offer sea snails, an exquisite bite, which we prepare very carefully since it is a delicate product that requires the right cooking. The most common variety we offer is the so-called horn (Boccinum undatum), which has a large shell, about 6 or 7 centimeters, although from time to time we also receive cañadillas (bolinus brandaris) and periwinkles (Littorina littorea), very popular throughout the Mediterranean.

Sea snails abound in Ibiza and in ancient times it was highly prized. In fact, archaeological sites with large areas of shell mounds have been found. In Roman times they were used to make purple dye, which was the color worn by the ruling class, such as senators, emperor and other nobles. Through a fermentation process, the precious color was obtained, which was then applied on fabrics that were exported already tinted, since this product oxidizes very quickly.

Although they are consumed since the Bronze Age, it was the Romans themselves who were the first to introduce sea snails into their gastronomic feasts on a regular basis. They even raised them to dispose of them in any season.

Sea snails are carnivores and feed on other mollusks such as bivalves. It uses the edge of its shell to pierce those of other species and thus access the soft tissues inside. They inhabit mainly the rocks of the coast located at sea level and their reproduction takes place from October to May. The eggs attach to rocks, shells and stones and are protected by a protective capsule. Inside each of them there may be about a thousand eggs. However, only a few of them develop. Sea snails are thought to live up to 10 years.

When preparing them, they are left to rest in salted water and then boiled for a few minutes, no more than ten. In Es Torrent we accompany them with different sauces. From the nutritional point of view, they provide a large amount of iron, calcium and minerals and almost 20 percent of proteins, as well as essential amino acids for various functions of the body. Its amount of fat is reduced.

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