Normally cursed by gardeners and overlooked as a food source, these small unassuming culinary morsels can be enjoyed and even celebrated.
The common garden snail Cornu aspersum is a much-loved delicacy in France and a great source of vitamin A, iron, magnesium and calcium. Snails are low in fat, high in protein and are found in nearly all gardens across Australia.
If you have ever tried escargot in a restaurant, you may be missing out on the delicate and earthy flavour of
fresh snail meat. Most escargot is tinned so is not a good representation of the flavour or texture of freshly prepared snails.
With a similar texture and subtle flavour profile to mushrooms, the flavour of snail meat can be enhanced by what they have been feeding on. A week or so before eating them, place them in a container with air holes, and as well as a some fresh garden leaves, try feeding them basil, parsley and even fennel to enhance their flavour.
Then, a few days before you plan to eat them, remove all sources of food and ‘purge’ your snails so their digestive systems are empty.
Escargots Recipe (aka Gardener’s Revenge!)
- 24 large garden snails, purged and rinsed 1 cup salted butter
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 3⁄4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 slices sourdough, cut into crouton-size pieces
Preheat oven to 200 oC and place snails in the freezer to kill them humanely. Soften the butter and mix through all the ingredients, except the bread. Arrange butter, snails and bread in a baking dish just large enough for the ingredients to fit.
Bake for 15 minutes until snails are sizzling and the bread is golden brown. Spoon snails, bread and buttery sauce into bowls and use toothpicks to remove the meat from the shell. Serve four.
Want to know more about snails?
Check out our article from Issue #29 of Pip Magazine about how to identify and forage for edible snails.
You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering, or subscribe to the print version of Pip Magazine here.
Image: Restaurant De Nachtwacht