So last week I got a very special delivery of snail mail… The real sort. A box of live garden slimeys delivered to my door.
I was fully aware that if any of the frenchies in South ken got wind of my new goodies then these slippery suckers wouldn’t last long. So I set to work pronto, to rustle up a tasty tummy tickler worthy enough to serve to a few friend this weekend as pre-dinner nibbles. It was a girls night, so a punchy garlic sauce was a must.
Garlic butter and parley have long been a sung hero to serve with snails. Basically they pack as much flavour and rich goodness onto these little morsels as is possible – an important feat, since the snails themselves boast an unspectacular taste alone. For this dish I wanted to add a little more oomph to the buttery sauce and made it into a (sort-of) buttery, dip/ vinaigrette. Thin enough to dunk but not so thin that the snails didn’t get a good coating of flavour.
Anchovies are certainly an unsung hero in too many pantries. My cupboard is seldom without them. They are richly salted and add wonderful flavour to so many dishes. Try dropping one in a pot of tomato sauce, or meat stew and you will see what amazing depth of flavour it can impart on the dish. They needn’t make your dish fishy, so don’t let the thought of them put you off.
I will stress how important it is you use specific, edible snails for this recipe. I got mine from H &RH Escargots. They are specifically bred and farmed for eating. Far more meaty and juicy then any old garden snail.
- 24 Live Edible Snails
- 2 to 3 Garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 4 olive oil packed Anchovies
- 100g Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- a few grating of Lemon Zest and 1 tbs fresh Lemon Juice, or to taste
- 3 tbs fresh Parsley
- Sea Salt, to taste
For the Parsley + Anchovy Butter
Place all the ingredients, apart from the snails, in a blender and blitz to a chunky pate.
For the Snails
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and drop your snails into it.
Bring it back to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drian the snails in a colander and serve on a platter with a long sewing needle and the butter. To eat, use the needle to pull the snails out of their shells, dip them in the vinaigrette and enjoy solo.
For a slightly more substantial main, serve the snails out of their shell, tossed in the butter, with garlic fried spring greens or linguini pasta.