1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3-4 rashers fatty bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 medium eggs, separated
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
a good pinch curry powder
40 grams fresh breadcrumbs
freshly ground black pepper
sunflower oil or olive oil, for frying
Scrub the whelks under the cold tap. As you handle them, you may find that some of them release a certain amount of slime (don’t worry about this, just rinse it away). Put the cleaned whelks in a large pan, cover with cold water and add the celery, carrot and bay leaf. Bring to boiling point and cook at a gentle simmer for 8–10 minutes. Drain, discard the vegetables and leave the whelks to cool.
Extract the cooked whelks from their shells, using a fork to twirl them out. Remove the coarse cap or ‘trap door’ (like a black fingernail) from the front end and the dark digestive sac from the tail end. Roughly chop the whelks.
Gently cook the bacon in a frying pan until it releases its fat and is lightly cooked. Add the onion to the pan and fry until soft, then set aside to cool.
Put the egg yolks into a bowl and lightly break them up with a fork. Stir in the chopped whelks, bacon and onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, curry powder, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold them into the whelk mixture. Form the mixture into even-sized patties, around 5 cm in diameter.
Pour a 1 cm depth of oil into a large frying pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties (be careful, as they can spit ferociously) and fry for 3–4 minutes per side, until crisp and golden. Serve the fritters hot from the pan, with a little lemony mayonnaise dabbed on top if you like.