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simple local vegetables

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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Snails - Escargots - Schnecken (Part 2)

Maybe not everyone's cup of tea-some call them "Bogies"!
Prepared correctly they can be cheap and delicious.

The various reactions to Part 1 of this article (see Blog archives) were decidedly "Nationalistic" as opposed to Geographical or Culinaristic.
Nevertheless, here is part 2 - still in the same language!
This smallish "shell" creature, unlike other creatures which live in a "shell", are not really edible in the natural state, as are Oysters, mussels and others.
The "slime" produced naturally by these creatures, whilst being wholly protein, rather like the white of an egg (and there are many people who swear by the eating of raw eggs as a remedy for diverse conditions, notably as a counter effect to over indulgence with alcohol). Unfortunately, this "slime" looks unappetising, and puts many people off!
Still, prepared correctly, the escargot or snail can be a delicious source of nourishment.
I dealt with the preparations, well known, that are relatively rapid, in Part 1, so here are some recommendations for "longer" more slowly cooked dishes.
In all cases, the same methods should be applied regarding the "purging" and preparation , and I'm starting on the basis that you have already read those instructions.
Escargots en sauce avec des cèpes et du vin blanc
Looks delicious, doesn't it? Snails with cepes (a member of the mushroom/funghi family)
a little fresh cream, lots of garlic, cooked slowly in white wine.
You can find the recipe here (as well as many more) Strangely enough, the site is in French - I can't imagine why:

These small creatures can be served in sauce, in gratins, in omeleyyes, even casseroled....!
Served in sauce, the animals can be left in their shells, or cooked and taken out (rather like whelks) and developed in the manner required.
The most important thing is NOT to cook too long, like most items of a delicate nature, over cooked they become dry and in fact are toughish to eat!
Here is a typical recipe:
(I find that if you add a pich of sugar to counter balance the acidity of the wine, or even better some white Balsamic Vinegar in place of some of the wine the taste is more succulent - this applies to all dishes with tomatoe sauces, and is an old "pro's" trick)

Escargots à la sauce piquante.

Ingrédients pour 8 personnes :
200 escargots
200g de lard fumé en dés
1 oignon
4 tomates pelées coupées en morceaux
4 gousses d'ail
1/2l de vin blanc sec
1 bouquet garni
2 cubes de bouillon
1 piment de cayenne

Mouiller les coquilles, égoutter les et les asperger de gros sel, bien les brasser (ils bavent).
Laisser ainsi 1h en les brassants de temps en temps. Les passer sous le robinet pour détacher le filet de lave secrétée.
Recommencer l'opération 3 fois, mais délicatement, pour ne pas briser les coquilles. Bien rincer le dernier lavage avec un peu de vinaigre.

Les jeter dans un faitout rempli d'eau froide avec un bouquet garni. Saler et poivrer. Porter à ébulition.
Laisser 1/4 d'heure après ébullition.

Les repasser sous l'eau froide pour faire tomber la bave cuite.
Les escargots sont alors prêts à être jetés dans la sauce.

Faire revenir ail et oignons, les laisser légèrement blondir.
Ajouter le lard en dés et le persil coupé.
Hors du feu, on ajoute un peu de farine.
Ajouter la tomate fraîche.

Laisser cuire 1/4 d'heure.

Faire un bouillon avec 2 cubes de bouillon tout prêt dans le commerce.
Ajouter le vin blanc, le bouquet garni, la sauce tomate,  les piments.
Laisser cuire 1/2 heure.

Ajouter les escargots, ils doivent être bien recouverts de liquide. Laisser réduire à feu doux jusqu'à ce que les escargots se retirent facilement de la coquille.

Remodifier l'assaisonnement en sel, épaissir la sauce avec un peu de farine délayée avec le l'eau, ajouter le hachis.

Laisser mijoter une 1/2 heure.

You can find this recipe (and many more) in French, here:,cuisine,447264.html
(avec remerciements)

So - there we are, all in all another taboo broken! 
There are so many recipes it's not possible to give them all - just let your imagination run riot!
Even better, ask your Grand-mothers, Great-aunts for their recipes, and (always assuming they are French) you'll probably get a different one!
Later, in a new article, I'll deal with yet another "misnomer"- another hated dish attributed to the French:

"Cuisses des Grenouilles" - "Frogs legs"
You can see why the French love them:

(and you'll love them too!) 


Bonne Cuisine      -        Happy Cooking        -     Frohes Gelingen.....

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