How to Cook Snails
Escargot, the famous French delicacy, isn’t something most Americans have tried.
But mastering the art of serving truly delicious escargot isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of know-how.
How to Buy Escargot
Purchase live snails that have been well fed and kept watered every day. Do not buy packages of live snails that contain some dead snails in them. Frozen snails are also an acceptable choice.
How to Find Escargot in Your Garden
You may also eat snails direct from your garden. (In fact, that may be the best way to keep them from eating your salad patch!)
Snails are easiest to collect while it’s raining, or immediately after it rains. You can also lay out snail traps: tuna fish cans (well cleaned) and filled with beer. Set them out in the evening, and wait for the snails to approach. They love the beer, but they will die if you allow them to partake. Other good places to find snails include under rocks and objects like trash cans.
Be sure to let any small snails remain free; you’re looking for mature adults.
Allow store bought or garden found snails to fast for five to six days; this improves their flavor and detoxifies their bodies. Store bought snails should come in a wooden box that can stay outside, but make sure it has legs, so the box never touches the ground.
Plastic boxes are fine, too, as long as they have plenty of holes for air circulation, but again, the snails should not be able to reach the ground, or they are likely to find food to eat. Home grown snails may remain in a glass jar as long as the lid has plenty of air holes drilled in it.
After two days of snail fasting, Gordon Ramsey suggests placing a carrot in the jar or box and allowing the snails to stay put until their feces turn orange. Or, try feeding the snails dill after two or three days without food.
During this fasting period, be sure to gently spray the snails with water every day.
How to Prepare Escargot
Always wash the snails well under running water. Throw out any snails that are dead.
It was once traditional to salt snails before cooking, because it was thought to make them less slimy. However, it’s not necessary, actually makes them more slimy, and is torture to the snail.
Instead, once washed, you may simply place the snails in boiling water. Allow them to boil for three minutes, then remove their shells with tweezers and place in cold, salted water. Allow to sit for about an hour. Rinse thoroughly and place in fresh water.
The snails may then be cooked according to your recipe, check out Our Deer’s snail aioli recipe. You may also freeze the snails for later use by placing them in an air tight container or bag.
The snails may also be cooked and placed back in their shells for serving – if you first wash the shells in soda powder, rinse well, and boil.
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : How to Cook Snails