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sazji

Cooking snails

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So who here has actually cooked snails, starting out with live ones? I have a yard full of them, both common Helix species and Theba as well. I tried the large ones, did the disgorging (following a Greek method which involved washing them in salt water - yecch). They were easy to get out of the shells. But after simmering them for at least an hour, they were still producing slime, mostly from the mantle - a little roll just back from the head. Tried to wash it away, it just kept comin' and comin'!

I have eaten the Cretan style snails fried in olive oil and lemon; they had a slight slickness but nothing I couldn't deal with; and I've enjoyed them cooked in wine/tomato/onion sauce, where they weren't slimy at all.

So what am I doing wrong?

bob


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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I think it takes longer than that. They should go through a fasting process that lasts at least a couple of days. Perhaps others can add more information.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I found two sources of advice on my shelves, both from France, and both emphasized the need for fasting the snails first.

Edouard de Pomaine, "Cooking with Pomaine" recommends a 48 hour fast in a ventilated bucket/pail before multiple washings, then blanching, before proceeding with any recipe.

"La Cuisine de Madame Saint-Ange" recommends a 2 week fast ("une quinzaine de jours"). That seems awfully long to me--could be my mediocre French translation skills--I imagine a lot of dead snails as a result, but I've never done this so can't give you any advice from personal experience.



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soak them in a few rinses of a vinegar and water solution removes the slime. then braise them and remove from shell with a small fork or ice pick. after that you remove the black end and braise in a nice court boullion. after that,,,now you can use them any way. its alot of work but its worth it! good luck!

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I just had snails the other day. For our native Philippine species which on the average are an adult's thumb-sized, fasting them overnight or for five hours is enough. These usually come from rice paddies or rivers and not too slimy.

The basic recipe is to sauté them in ginger, with the shells, lightly salt then simmer with lots of water for a few minutes, add chilli leaves. Great soup! Half the fun is shucking them out of their shells during family meals.

They can also be used as omelette-filling. Remove from shells, chop them finely, sauté in garlic, onions and tomatoes.

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Are the common garden snails edible??

The landscaping at my condo complex has been overrun with them the past few weeks -- they seem to come out and multiply after each rain.

You mean I should be collecting them in a bucket and fasting them??


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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In the South of Lebanon, snails are collected soon after the first rain and stored in hemp bags for one week. They are simmered for 30 minutes (to clean) after which the water is changed and simmered again with carrots, onions and celery until done. They're drained, vegetables discarded and the snails are served immediately, family style (in one large bowl) with a sauce consisting of olive oil, lemon juice, mashed garlic and salt. Using a small fork, one pulls a snail out of the shell then dip it in the sauce. Voi la.

Left overs are chucked and sauteed scampi style or repacked in the shells with casino butter.

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When I was living in rural Malaysia near the South China Sea, we used to collect snails and clams in the mangroves. Once we brought them back in buckets, the snails were simply cleaned (the digestive system discarded and in some cases used for bait for fishing) and cooked. I have never liked snails cooked in any way, however, including fancy French preparations.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Before my old neighbor, Monsieur DuPuy passed on, he regularly cleaned my garden of snails-- those we call 'le petit gris' as opposed to the bigger burgundian variety-- fed them on rose petals (I kid you not!), purged them, then returned them to me for a mere 50 francs.

Usually my Gascon neighbors feed the snails rather than fast them, on vermicelli pasta for a week or longer in a sort of snail jail- a cage with lots of airholes. And as Iriee mentions to deslime them: I cook them first in salted water, rinse them in vinegar, remove them from the shells, pluck and toss out the dark stomach sac, rinse again in vinegar if needed, then return to the shells with garlic/parsley butter and bake. Whew!

I enjoy them more when I eat them in a restaurant or more commonly here at an 'escargotlade' -- a village fete featuring all you can eat, vats of snails cooked with the garlic/parsley butter or preferably with a tomato, garlic, ham sauce in the Bordeaux fashion and served with plenty of baguettes and lots of red wine.


Edited by Kate Hill (log)

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"Dark stomach sac." How decorous. :laugh: In rural Terengganu, the highly technical term for that part of the snail anatomy was jubur tahi, meaning "asshole," but even more graphic (tahi=shit). I loved those salty-tongued village people. :smile: Suffice it to say that it's definitely a good idea to remove that, whatever else you plan on doing with the snail (other than throwing it away). :raz:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Thanks for all the answers! I will try this again, as I still have lots of snails in the garden, and remember how good they were once upon a time.

I've seen several references to this "black end," but am not exactly sure what it refers to. There is a big coiled dark thing, we used to eat that (and everything else) from the Cretan-style ones. Is that what we take off? Maybe I'll have to boil one, shuck it, take a photo and then have someone guide me? :) People here don't eat snails so nobody can tell me anything.


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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I know that this is slightly off topic, but I need some advice of what may be a snail allergy. I've enjoyed eating them in the past (never had the moxie to prepare them myself), but now am afraid that I've developed an allergy (this would take my number of food allergies up to 2, the other being green papaya skins, go figure).

If anybody has ever heard anything about snail allergies please let me know. My "problem" seems to manifest itself as severely constricted breathing :shock: and a very runny nose. But I eat snails rather infrequently, so I'm not sure if it is actually the snails causing this. I would like to eat them without fear (and with functioning lungs).

What exactly do snail alergy reactions look like?


Alamut was the mountain fortress of Hassan i Sabbah and the later heads of the Assassins. Alamut represents more than just a physical place, more even than a symbolic home of the movement. Alamut was with you in what you did; Alamut was in your heart from the moment of your arrival and introduction to "Heaven" until the moment you died.

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What is the verdict on garden slugs? I know, I know, they're hideously slimy ... but aren't they pretty much the same composition as a snail? If, with vinegar, you could remove their slime, would they taste like a snail?

I have always wondered this, especially in late August when the slugs outside start to resemble fat little breakfast links. Someone must know.

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i started to do a piece on this several years ago but never finished it. the predominant garden snail in california is the petit gris. they were introduced in the late 1800s by a frenchman who started a snail ranch in san jose. one day, he had a stampede (i kid you not).

i cooked snails once with an italian woman who knew her way. they were disgorged for a week on lettuce (don't keep them in cardboard ... they can "chew" right through it). then she stewed them, in the shell, in a light tomato broth. she cooked them for at least a couple of hours ... the broth ended up being a brick red and you could smell the change in the snails when they were ready to eat.

you eat them by pulling them from the shell with a small, hooked implement. the broth you soak up with bread. it was very good.

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What exactly do snail alergy reactions look like?

Allergies can manifest themselves in different ways - breathing problems, hives, swelling; there is no one single way. The best thing would be for you to get tested by an allergist, they may very likely turn up the culprit.

Good luck!

bob


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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the Lebanese way (never done it, only obserevd my grandma cook the things after I enjoyed collecting them after a summer rain):

1- Fast them for a day or two to rid them of "Le crap"

2- Wash and simmer for maybe an hour or two. they should be soft but not mushy.

3- Remove from the shell and discard any inteestines, sacs (black or otherwise), leaving only the muscle that is also attched to the coiled part that was in the shell.

4- either saute with lots of onions, olive oil, tomatoes and garlic or simply dress with olive oil and lemon juice and eat with garlicky Tahini sauce. Both methods require pita bread :smile:.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Just a thought. I would be very cautious about gathering snails where pesticides are used.


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Just a thought. I would be very cautious about gathering snails where pesticides are used.

Good point! :blink: I think I'll pass on the ones that have been overrunning our condo landscaping!


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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