I tried my first ever snail on Saturday afternoon at a little French country wedding! Had the most gorgeous time! After the ceremony at the Mairie, we all trooped off to the picnic area for photos, and then on to the Village Hall for a "vin d'honneur" and nibbles, followed by an evening buffet with a neverending supply of pink and red wine, starters consisting of an array of salads and pâté de campagne, main course with rôti de porc et de bœuf, a selection of local cheeses with green salad, and a spectacular pièce montée made of choux pastry balls filled with crème patissière, assembled into a tower glued with caramel, and sprinkled with pearl sugar, served with champagne, followed by toasts and speeches by the Bride and Groom, coffee, games and dancing into the night, then back again for lunch on the Sunday afternoon.
So, back to the snails...
We had "rosé pamplemousse" for the apéritif - chilled rosé wine with "sirop de pamplemousse" (grapefruit cordial), in the same proportions as for a Kir - really light and refreshing... Went down a little too easily hehe
Meanwhile family and friends passed around nibbles: crudités with a delicious crème fraîche, chive and crushed garlic dip, little boats made out of chicory leaves with garlic cheese and a cherry tomato inside, bacon cake, feta and wild mushroom cake (delish! recipes to follow soon!), toasted canapés topped with cream cheese and smoked carp fillet, and mini snail tartlets. Now these looked just like the mini spinach tartlets I make at home and my son wolfed down two of them before realising they were indeed snails in parsley, garlic and butter, but he wasn't phased at all and thought it was pretty cool and said he liked them (though with a slight shudder)! And so of course I had my arm twisted to try one too! I'm pretty squeamish and have to say I nibbled on the pastry, and then had to pop it into my gob, think of oysters and down it in one! It was totally worth it for the well dones and pats on my back I got afterwards - like an initiation of sorts haha!
And then my friend told me how to prepare them:
So, the rough idea is, you catch a few snails, the little grey ones you get in the garden are the tastiest apparently. Put them in a little box and feed them nothing but flour for a month. That way they detox and get rid of the nasty stuff... Then you immerse them in plenty of white vinegar with a little water, til it turns frothy, and rinse them about 10 times in plenty of fresh water til the water stays completely clear. You then prize them out of their shells (and clean the shells if you want to serve them in the shells afterwards). Mix up lots of crushed garlic, finely chopped parsley and butter, put the snails back in the shells with the seasoning and bake in the oven for [I need to check] OR you can cut little circles of flaky pastry and pop the snails and seasoning on the pastry circles and bake in a hot oven for half an hour.