Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hodmandods are off, dear


Coming down first - exceptionally, must be the third time this year - this morning to make tea etc. I noticed, gulping uneasily with apprehension, that one of J.'s local recipe books is open, ominously, at a page featuring a dish called Lou Cagaraoulat. This translates as something like Snail Casserole.

Here's the recipe, for 6 people:

Ingredients

200 snails
2 onions
Coulis of 8 tomatoes
3 good slices of raw cured ham
½ litre of dry white wine
Salt, pepper
Garlic, sprig of thyme, 2 bay leaves.

Cook the snails for 1 hour in pressure cooker, covered with water well infused with the herbs, etc.
Drain well when cooked.
Dice the ham, fry to sizzling in a large casserole. Add the sliced onions, thyme and bay leaves and then the white wine.
Cook slowly. Mix in the snails when the sauce has thickened, cook for 10 minutes, then add crushed garlic. Each snail should be coated with the sauce.
Serve with white wine.

*

One damp morning some years ago I was surprised to find a van parked beneath our walnut tree and voices from the drystone wall by one of our little ponds. I went to investigate. A family of about 6 were busy picking all the snails lodging in the wall crevices, supposing themselves secure beneath the covering ivy. They were busy filling plastic supermarket bags with them. Any enterprising Brians trying to escape were ruthlessly shoved back in again. There must have been easily enough to complete the recipe above. They were our snails, beyond doubt. These people were nothing but common snail poachers.

What would you have done? Ask for them back? Ask them to replace every single one of them where they found them? Required them to pay for them?

Quickly weighing up the pros, cons and possible outcomes, I said I would have been pleased if they'd asked beforehand, but all the same I wished them bon appetit. Enjoy. After all, I wasn't going to eat them.


*

When J. came down I said Erm, you weren't thinking of ...

No, no, she said. If you look on the same page there's a recipe for olive bread I was going to try.

Phew.

11 comments:

Dave said...

Take 200 snails, one slice ham, two slices of chunky bread, butter.

Discard snail shells.

Butter the bread.

Place ham on top of one slice of bread.

Put other slice on top.

Discard snails.

Enjoy sandwich.

Christopher said...

Are you doing the catering for Z's forthcoming party, Dave?

Z said...

That looks like an awful lot of snails for 6 people. If I made a bit more sauce, I think it would feed at least 10. Do you think it would be okay if I used slugs instead of snails, though, or maybe a mixture? Thank you for the recipe, it looks jolly tasty.

Christopher said...

Weeell...you could add slugs, but please don't deprive your chickens. Why not try puppy dog tails instead?

Rog said...

Show me a snail without a shell and I'll show you a slug with a Big Issue.

Tim said...

For me, there is only one way to eat snails, which is to be a bird.

Vicus Scurra said...

Ham? Disgusting.

Sarah said...

Yuk. Doent matter how much you try to disguise the taste with garlic, snails are still like eating snot on leather.

Sarah said...

Pip pip....back in July.

moreidlethoughts said...

I went off snails after I failed to back a racehorse called L'Escargot. The brute won.

note to Vicus: do NOT visit my blog. It's very disturbing to us vegetarians.

letouttoplay said...

Sounds much like a recipe we sometimes use for mussels, except for the coulis of tomatoes.