19 SNAIL DISHES

Hello dear GASTRO_IC follower! Today we continue yesterdays topic about snails in the world of gastronomy. In contrast to yesterday, today we are talking about different ways edible snails can be consumed. From home cooked dishes to top Bocuse D’or stuff, here are some of dish ideas of how to prepare utilize those nutritious little slimy bombs.

Escargots à la Bourguignonne

France

Escargot, or cooked snails, are a beloved French delicacy that is usually served as an appetizer. Before preparation, the snails must be purged, removed from their shells, and cooked, usually with garlic butter, chicken stock, or wine. Their tender texture and clean, woody flavors pair especially nicely with herb-infused butter – garlic, thyme, and parsley are the most common choices. Cooked escargots can be served on toasted pieces of baguette, but they are more commonly placed back into their shells and served on an escargot plate. In that case, special snail tongs are needed to hold the shell while extracting the meat with a two-pronged snail fork.

Caracóis à Algarvia

Algarve, Portugal

This flavorful Portuguese dish consists of thoroughly cleaned snails that are stewed in a simple combination of water and oregano sticks, while different variations also may include other types of herbs, tomatoes, or chili peppers. As the name suggests, the dish is associated with Algarve, where snails are traditionally harvested from April to June. Caracóis are always served in the shell, and the whole dish is usually accompanied by country-style bread.

Poached duck egg, leeks vinaigrette, deep fried snails and bacon, garlic butter

Gastropub “The Hero of Maida”, London, UK

Featuring plump snails wrapped in vèntrenche bacon, rich garlic butter, leek vinaigrette and poached duck egg, this snails with bacon recipe from Henry Harris boasts an array of classic French flavours. The garlic butter recipe will produce a lot more than is required, so freeze the excess and use as you please.

Caragols a la llauna

Province of Lleida, Spain

Cargols a la llauna is a traditional Spanish dish originating from Catalonia. It’s made with a combination of snails, mayonnaise, and garlic. The snails are grilled in their own shells for a few minutes, then served with garlic and mayonnaise sauce. The snails are then traditionally dipped in the sauce. Every year, 200,000 people come to Lleida for the Aplec del Cargol (which can be translated as snail gathering) to enjoy snail-based specialties.

Oc luoc xa

Ninh Bình Province, VIetnam

Oc luoc xa is a traditional Vietnamese dish originating from the Ninh Binh region. It’s made with mountain snails which live on the limestone mountains in Tam Diep town. The snails appear only from April to August, making this dish a seasonal delicacy. The texture of the meat is tough and brittle. Although there are a few dishes made with these snails, they’re most commonly boiled with spices such as lemongrass, ginger, and red chili peppers. Once prepared, the dish is traditionally accompanied by fish sauce for dipping on the side.

Snail and pig tail bonbons

Restaurant “Artichoke”, Old Amersham, UK

This snail recipe is a lavish concoction from Laurie Gear featuring an array of princely ingredients. It relies on some great craft from the reader in order to execute the dish, but the end result is tremendously rewarding. Snails and pig’s tails give the dish an almost medieval feel.

Cargolade

Catalonia, Spain & Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Cargolade is a traditional northern Catalan specialty that’s popular in Occitanie as well. The dish is prepared with the local variety of snails that are cooked in their shells, often outdoors and over vine wood. The name of the dish is derived from cargols, Catalan for snails, and the suffix –ade, denoting a meal that’s based on a single ingredient.

The snails are stuffed with a combination of lard, garlic, and parsley, then seasoned with paprika and salt before they’re placed on the grill. When they start to whistle, they’re fully cooked. Cargolade is traditionally eaten piping hot while standing up and it’s usually accompanied by aioli. There’s also a second method of preparing the snails in the Aude, where they are flambéed with salt, herbs, piment d’Espelette, and rendered lard.

Ốc len xào dừa

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ốc len xào dừa is a traditional Vietnamese dish and a specialty of Ho Chi Minh City. The dish is made by cooking mud creeper sea snails in coconut milk with fresh spices such as lemongrass, coriander, chili, and garlic. The snails are cooked until they suck up all of the sweet and creamy sauce. Before serving, the dish is usually garnished with fresh coriander leaves. In order to eat the snail meat, it must be sucked out of its shell while making a loud slurping sound. It’s recommended to serve Ốc len xào dừa with a glass of beer or wine on the side.

Bebbux

Malta

Called bebbux in Maltese, edible land snails are just as beloved and traditional in Malta as they are in countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal, among others. After they’ve been cleansed through fasting over a couple of days, the snails are typically cooked in salted water before being smothered in an aromatic tomato sauce or mixed with a combination of oil, garlic, and herbs.

The Maltese generally consume this culinary specialty as an appetizer, and they often pair it with crusty bread for dipping and a cold beer or whiskey on the side. Cooked bebbux is also a common accompaniment to fenkata, a well-known Maltese rabbit stew.

In Malta, snails start popping up in grocery stores, traditional restaurants, and local bars during the rainy months of autumn, the time when traditional harvesting of edible snails usually takes place in the country.

Pasta con le lumache

Sicily, Italy 

Sicilians eat snails of various species. The most consumed species are: Eubania vermiculata, Elix pisana, Canthareus aperta and Helix adspersa. This dish requires Eubania vermiculata. This is one of most adored home-cooked dishes in Sicily, prepared with potatoes, onion, tomatoes (cherry or Pachino) basil and a lot of olive oil.

Lumache alla Piemontese

Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is well known for its snails – there is even a Fiera fredda della lumaca, a snail fest celebrated on the 5th of December. The feast sometimes lasts up to three days, and the main star of the event is Helix pomatia Alpina, the local variety of large snails with white meat.

Preparing the snails is very time-consuming: first, they must be gathered, then fed with selected aromatic herbs and cleaned. There are various ways to prepare the snails in Piedmont – for this particular recipe, snails are cooked in an aromatic mixture of butter, onions, broth, wine, bay leaves, and thyme, then served topped with pesto consisting of walnuts, chopped parsley, butter, anchovies, and garlic.

Ốc hương

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ốc hương is a traditional Vietnamese snail dish. The key ingredients in this dish are large and sweet Babylonia snails with white and brown spotted shells. They’re usually stir-fried in a large wok with a sweet and sticky sauce. When served, the snails are pulled out of their shells with a small two-pronged fork, then dipped into a combination of salt, pepper, lime juice, and chili sauce.

Kohli Bourbouristi

Crete, Greece

The star ingredient in this traditional Greek dish are snails that are pan-fried in their shells, usually in hefty amounts of olive oil or on a bed of salt. The dish is often elevated with the addition of vinegar or herbs such as parsley or rosemary. The unusual name, which vaguely translates as popping fried snails, refers to the loud sound the snails make when fried. Others claim it comes from the Cretan word abouboura, meaning face-side down. The snails are served inside the shells, and they are traditionally eaten with toothpicks, while crusty bread and a glass of raki or ouzo are often served on the side. The dish is mainly associated with Crete, where it is considered to be an authentic delicacy that’s especially popular before the Greek Orthodox Easter, when it can be found in most homes and taverns.

Snails served on a coulis of watercress with garlic crisps

Restaurant “Gaddi’s”, Hong Kong, China

Describing his own, individual, cooking identity, Chef Xavier Boyer, creator of this dish, says: ‘My influences are more southern – the Mediterranean, because I have family from over there. My background is there. I like working with seasonal produce, things that are very fresh – you can easily identify the flavors.’ His John Dory fillet with aubergine caviar and avocado extra virgin oil is an excellent example of this. He continues: ‘I also travel a lot, all over the world now, so I take a lot of inspiration from that.’

The earthy flavor of the snails pair beautifully with the spicy watercress and crispy garlic. Garnish the dish with a few croutons for extra crunch. Snails are available in specialist fishmongers or online.

Lumache a picchi pacchi

Sicily, Italy

Lumache a picchi pacchi is a traditional Italian dish hailing from Sicily. It consists of snails served with picchi pacchi sauce. The snails are purified, washed, cooked, and drained. The onions are sautéed in olive oil with the snails, tomatoes, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley or basil, and salt.

The dish is simmered for a short while more, and then it can be served hot or cold, depending on personal preferences.

Snails sandwich

Gastropub “The Hind’s Head”, Bray, UK

This sandwich is unique piece of art which streamlights the main ingredient, SNAILS. Beside its flavor profile this dish stands out for it’s textural complexity. Snails are braised to perfection, finished in plenty of luxurious garlic butter and paired with crispy capers, fennel and the ultimate French toast.streamlights

Oeuf d'escargot

Paris, France

Dish inspired by culinary giant, chef Alain Passard, who invented the Arpège egg technique. This dish highlights snail caviar and fresh aromatic chervil and snail meat mousse.

Bún ốc

Hanoi, Vietnam

This tangy snail soup is a staple in Hanoi. It is usually prepared with freshwater snails that are combined with a tomato-based broth. The dish also contains rice vermicelli noodles and fresh Vietnamese herbs, while typical garnishes include fish cakes, fried tofu, sliced scallions, fried shallots, or cilantro.

Lime wedges, shrimp paste, or chili sauce can be served on the side. Bún ốc is prepared as a classic winter version or as a refreshing summer variety in which the broth is served cold, and the noodles should be dipped in the broth and then consumed.

Onion and wild garlic with snails

Restaurant “The Elephant”, Torquay, UK

If you are looking for a standout canapé to blow your mind, then this is the dish for you. Chef Simon Hulstone uses strips of onion to enrobe a wild garlic (use spinach if not in season) and snail filling. This canapé may require a little dexterity to put together but it is well worth the effort.