Carpet-Shell

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

carpet-shell Ruditapes decussatus, an edible bivalve which is better known to connoisseurs of seafood under its French and Italian names: palourde and vongola respectively. Although the range of the species extends as far north as Britain, it is little known there. The erudite Lovell (1884) recorded that people in Hampshire knew it as butter-fish, and preferred it to the cockle, but any such enthusiasm had waned 100 years later. The name carpet-shell is given because the pattern on the shell was thought to resemble those of certain carpets. The more general name venus shell may also be used, since the carpet-shell belongs to the family Veneridae.