Monday, March 23, 2009


COOKING is in 3 stages:
1 Killing: they must be right inside their shells, if not, disturb them by gently shaking the container. Plunge them into boiling water for two - five mins.
2 Then cool them in cold water, and extract them carefully from their shells with a toothpick or pin.
3 Then they are cooked for an hour or so in good tasty stock. The French always include wine. See below
4 Then they are baked with butter and flavourings. This is because they are quite low in fat, and flavour.
5 Serve with bread.
Serving them in their shells requires two extra stages:--
6 Cleaning and drying the shells, see below
7 Putting the snail into the shells with butter sauce, then baking.

THE STOCK cook up for ½ hour or so. This was used on the One Show, a court bouillon or your own stock recipe is fine.
Then add the snails, after removal from shells.
1 lt water
generous handfuls of fresh:
water parsnip leaves
wild sorrel
nettle tips
Some welsh onion/garlic
Ramsons (wild garlic)
Thyme, basil,
Bay leaf
½ bottle of Chardonnay.

To melted butter, add garlic cloves
Then ground almonds to make a soft paste.
Put a snail in each hollow of a snail plate and add as much paste as possible.
Bake for 20 mins.
Serve with cubes of bread and salad.

Using a good book, collect seasonal weeds. For the One Show in April, I used those below.
Wash and chop finely, then
Blanch for 5 mins the wild herbs you can lay your hands on.
I used the following:
Water parsnip
Wild sorrel
Water cress
Nettle tips
A little ribwort plantain.
Sieve , pressing out the water.
Finely chopped ramsons
(if in season, otherwise use onion or garlic with the blanched herbs)
Add all these to melted butter.
Put a snail in each hollow of a snail plate and add as much paste as possible.
Bake for 20 mins.
Serve with cubes of bread and salad.

An old French recipe:
“To dress snails:
Put some water into a saucepan, and when it begins to boil throw in the snails, and let them boild a quarter of an hour; then take them out of their shells; wash them several times, taking great pains to cleanse them thoroughly, place them in clean water and boil them again for a quarter of an hour; then take them out, rinse them, dry them, and place them with a little butter in a frying pan, fry them gently for a few minutes, sufficient to brown them, then serve them with some piquant sauce.”
From “Edible Molluscs from great Britain and Ireland” by M S Lovell, a, PDF book that I downloaded from pages 23 – 27.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Oriole:

    Thank you for this blog. I'm hosting my first snail-eating party tomorrow! Hopefully the first of many.



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