Snails in zemin are an ancient traditional Ligurian dish that takes me back in time. I know for a fact that among you there are already those who are licking their chops at the thought of tasting them and those who, instead, are making faces of disgust. Of course it depends on taste... personally I find them excellent! And you?
In France, snails are found on the menu of many restaurants, while here they are increasingly rare. Consider that, instead, once upon a time they were often collected and cooked at home for Sunday lunch or during holidays.
The snail (called snail, in a scientifically incorrect way) is a mollusk with tender meat, with many polyunsaturated fats beneficial for the heart and with a protein level similar to that of fish.
Very rich in vitamin B12, they also contain a large variety of mineral salts, especially calcium and iron.
After cooking, they are soft and delicate. A belief that needs to be dispelled is that snails are difficult to digest. Nothing could be further from the truth: their meat is light and digestible... What may be indigestible is the seasoning in which they are cooked.
Snail farms, among other things, have a very low environmental impact and this makes them a sustainable food from an environmental point of view.
The recipe I propose is from my friend Renata from La Madia – fresh pasta from Campomorone (in the province of Genoa) who, in addition to being a very good cook, is also an inexhaustible source of knowledge in the gastronomic field. Every now and then I stop by and come home a little richer in culinary culture... and therefore happier. 😉
- Wooden spoon
- Soft bristle brush
Clean the snails.
At this point, the snails must be washed carefully to eliminate all the impurities present on the shell.
The snails should be soaked for about three hours in a basin filled with cold water, vinegar and coarse salt.
Contact with water awakens the molluscs which emerge from their shells.
Eliminate the dead ones (stained operculum, unpleasant odor, empty...)
Rub the shells well, one by one, with the help of a brush or with your fingers. Finally rinse with cold water.
This operation serves to eliminate slime and flavor the meat.
Place the snails to cook in a pan of cold water over a moderate heat. Add coarse salt and whole garlic cloves.
Boil for at least 40 minutes. During boiling, remove the slime with the help of a slotted spoon. During this period you must follow the cooking to prevent the foam that forms from escaping from the pan.
Drain them and rinse them again. They are ready for our recipe or other preparations.
Cooking snails in zemin.
Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water. When they are soft, squeeze them and chop them with the flavors (celery, carrot, onion).
Fry this mixture in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, then add the snails and deglaze with the white wine. Allow to evaporate.
Pour the tomato puree and a little water and leave to cook for about half an hour. Season with salt and pepper. The dish is ready.
Serve with the appropriate forks and tongs to hold the shells in place.