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Snails.........


nonblonde007
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I have on a few occasions, had the opportunity to try snails, Escargot, or whatever they are called in different situations. I never took the chances given to me, and so have no idea what the taste is or how the texture should be. Out of curiosity, I bought this can.........

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Are the canned variety as good as fresh? What is the difference I should expect? How should they be prepared? If I don't like them, can I expect to enjoy them off the menu of a nice restaurant? What texture and taste can I look forward to from canned snails verses fresh? Do you love, hate or have an in-between reaction to snails?

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Love snails. Land snails, sea snails… all good. My goal for 2008 is to make snail fried rice like Iron Chef Sakai (still working on it).

Fresh have a different texture than canned and I find that they also taste better since there's no tinny aftertaste nor are there traces of the canning fluid that they're packed in. However, most of us in North America pretty much only have access to tinned so get used to it.

Texture-wise, they are slightly squishy from a can, and somewhat softer than the fresh ones. I can't really describe fresh snails except that they taste like well, snails.

Cliché preparation is of course garlic butter and parsley; I suggest you try this first with your tin to see how well it goes. They're also pretty good on a stick.

If the opportunity arises in a restaurant for fresh ones, definitely give them a try.

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For me it's all about the piping-hot, salty, herby garlic butter the escargot are served in... something about the snails just makes the butter so good!!

Edited to add: it's definitely love. I will order escargot at every opportunity in which they are presented. :wub:

Edited by viva (log)

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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For me it's all about the piping-hot, salty, herby garlic butter the escargot are served in...  something about the snails just makes the butter so good!!

That's such a classic that's hard to beat but "Snail Porridge" at the fat duck was amazing and even the people who said they didn't like snails liked it but the best ever snail dish I've ever had was about 5 years ago in Minneapolis (sorry can't remember where) where the snails were each on a spoon, covered with a dusting of herbs, no butter, no idea how they cooked them (almost like they had been fried and then poached for a short time) they had a great texture and all the flavour of the snail came through.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Give the canned ones a quick bath in apple cider vinegar and then rinse and drain really well. Take some paper towels and roll them around in those trying to pat them dry. Roll them in bread crumbs and "sweat" them in butter, olive oil and minced garlic.

Very nice introduction to snails.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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Rumor is you can prep 'our' common garden snail the same way the French prepare theirs :

collect snails, feed em oatmeal or cornmeal for a week to clean them of any toxic-to-humans plants they might have eaten, then cook.

I dont expect to be testing the truth behind this rumor anytime soon. Do tell if you do, please!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Mmm. I have, Kougin Aman, but it was a long time ago.

My MIL (who had been born and raised in Italy) farmed her garden one summer day for snails in one of her attempts to show me ways of food that I'd never seen as a young-ish sprout at the time.

It was a tremendous amount of work (as many of the wild foods she prepared were). The final result was snails in a tomato sauce.

I respected her knowledge more than I admit to respecting the taste or texture of those snails. It was good knowledge for her to have, just for the pure knowledge value or alternately for knowing how to find something to eat when there might not be a Kroger or other grocery store nearby. :wink:

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I've heard that the taste of land snails can be dependant (as most living things are) on what they consume, what vegetation.

My own preference (to date) is for marine snails, which I've had in France both in restaurants and once, bought from a basket at a seafood shop and took home and cooked (steamed, white wine, garlic, herbs, butter).

I'd thought I'd also heard that the type of land snail eaten mattered a lot, so checked it on wiki, and found some info. Might check a better reference later.

......................................

The best snail story was written by MFK Fisher of course, about the meal where Papazi made snails. :smile:

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Jumped in with both feet this morning and had snails for breakfast! I followed SundaySous directions, with a couple of side-trips along the way. My first thought was........Bacon! Nothing can taste bad when bacon is involved. Then of course, when you have bacon, butter and garlic, you Must have mushrooms, so I tossed in a few shitake's. With all the components in place, I had to have a good piece of italian bread, toasted, to soak up all that yummy run-off.

It tastes fantastic, but I am unsure if it's the extras or the snails...hmmmmmmmm. Texturally, kinda chewy, thick, and in places a bit slimy. Not my favorite combination of mouth-feels. They do have distinctive flavor that is hard to describe, meaty, earthy, unlike anything I have tasted before. I think I like snails, I will have to try them in other ways to be sure. With wine. I think something creamy would be nice also. Needed herbs, which I forgot, so next time. These were rather large, I think I would prefer smaller bites. Here's the pic, is this what they should look like?

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Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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I've heard that the taste of land snails can be dependant (as most living things are) on what they consume, what vegetation.

I remember reading a description (possibly by Anthony Bourdain) of a paella preparation involving snails. They are starved for a week, then fed exclusively on rosemary leaves for a few days before cooking. The result is a rosemary-infused snail paella...

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I love them. Bets way I ever had them was a puff pastry parcel filled with the snails bound together by a thick garlic-herb sauce. Great in taste, structure and presentation

I was going to suggest this, but I have been beaten to it, I see. I will add, however, for the pastry impaired, that the freezer section of most grocer stores holds Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in the shape of little cups, which are perfect for this.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I love them. Bets way I ever had them was a puff pastry parcel filled with the snails bound together by a thick garlic-herb sauce. Great in taste, structure and presentation

I was going to suggest this, but I have been beaten to it, I see. I will add, however, for the pastry impaired, that the freezer section of most grocer stores holds Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in the shape of little cups, which are perfect for this.

Yeah. Well. I'm not sure I want to admit this but I had a dream nine days ago about this very same thing (post 39). Except mine was party-sized, for a crowd.

They told me to eat something and I got out of the water. It was filo dough covered with braised snails. (  ) Wierd-looking. But good.

Now I have to wonder if all this is a figment of my imagination. Brenda herself, all the answers here, and most of all Busboy.

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Great suggestions, esp. the puff pastry. In the country, where I used to spend summers, the most amazing appetizer I had the good fortune of eating was at a neighbor's farm: you guessed it, "wild" snails in butter, garlic and parsley sauce in puff pastry squares. Feuilletés aux escargots. Divine!

We used to go hunting them along the sides of country byways when it was damp out. The snail hunting season starts August 1 (you can get arrested if you start earlier). Then put them in a cage or aquarium for a week to pass everything through their system. (Kouign Aman, never heard of feeding them anything...)

But canned snails can be good, too. I have a great recipe from Jacques Vedel. He instructs to boil the canned snails for a half hour with some mint, parsley, peppercorns and a couple of other things, and then drain. Sauté thick-cut bacon lardons in a little olive oil with minced garlic, add a kilo of chopped swiss chard greens and spinach (60/40), then the snails and some walnut pieces. Cook a few minutes until the greens are wilted and any water evaporates. A great first course, very light and tasty.

Edited by sharonb (log)
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We had some snails in French Polynesia once that were so good we took the shells back to the hotel, cleaned them out, and brought them home as a remembrance! Still have them too. I believe they were land snails, not sea snails, but don't really know how to tell the difference.

As far as I can tell, they were just steamed over wine.

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Be aware that Roland escargot are being sourced from Indonesia.

Land snails are much better procured fresh in the shell and taking the time for preperation. There really is no comparison.

Sea snails can be of various variety and are really much different tasting than land snails.

We generally use the classic butter/garlic/Pernod or Snails Burgundy style to disguise the canned flavor.-Dick

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I am loving all of these suggestions and opinions, thank you. Karen, these snails were on sale for $6. It was worth it for the experience alone, I have always been a slave to curiosity! Last time I checked, I was a figment of My imagination!!!!!!

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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I confess to being a snail virgin, but since I'm going to be in France next week, and for some weeks to come, I'm going to try to get over it. You snail lovers out there, where is the best place to break a lifelong snail fast, Burgundy?

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I've loved snails for decades. But it seems nobody brought up another excellent way to do them. If you use canned snails, put them in mushroom caps with a little butter, a lot of garlic and parsley and some seasoned bread crumbs. At the last second a touch of shredded parm to melt on the way from oven (or broiler... or toaster oven) to the table. Serve with LOTS of fine crusty bread, a nice red and some great jazz.

(Add in a spinach salad and a strawberry crepe for dessert and life is ... bon!)

hvr

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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How about a Dim Sum favourite of mine; Snails in Satay Sauce? I always order these as i know no one else will eat them!! (Either these or Satay Tripe, mmmm)

There are however, less than scrupulous establishments who will substitute the snails with whelks...

I've never made them but i guess they're just marinated (long) and steamed (short) in satay sauce. I'm never going to try these at home because my wife can't stand the thought of them. So Brenda, i know you want to.... i would love to sample some home-cooked ones by proxy :biggrin:

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For me it's all about the piping-hot, salty, herby garlic butter the escargot are served in...  something about the snails just makes the butter so good!!

all the flavour of the snail came through.

That's good, right?

My Mom tells the story of being a young girl in Germany before WWII, and gathering snails along the roads in a pail. Her Dad would sell them in town to a snail broker for shipment to France. I visited Germany many times as a child, and the snails are/were still very abundant and surprisingly large. Having seen them live, and having been slimed by them many many times as a young boy, I can not for the life of me imagine eating one (nor can my mother).

Any dish you make will only taste as good as the ingredients you put into it. If you use poor quality meats, old herbs and tasteless winter tomatoes I don’t even want to hear that the lasagna recipe I gave you turned out poorly. You're a cook, not a magician.

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I've asked this before in different forums, but no one seems to know, so I'll pose the question here:

Are slugs edible, assuming some sort of prep that removes the mucous membrane, and if so, why wouldn't they taste like snails?

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:blink: Where is that little green smiley?! EEEYYYUUUU! Having stepped on my share in Pac.N.W., generally in bare feet, of course, and spending an hour trying through the curses, to scrape them from between my toes...........I reiterate.....EEEWWWWUUUU!!!!!!!

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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