Friday, March 16, 2007
The Musings of an Escargot
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"Where did everybody go?" - wondered the anguished snail. "Something is cooking around here?." It must be terrible to wake up from the winter lethargy to find yourself in a big pan full of salt and no one else on sight. Well, in fact the rest was there too but very busy bubbling salt away. After shooting the poor creature with my camera and watch it go on the way to the fire, I sat and had my lamb chops silently contemplating the rest of participants in this sort of pagan ritual, compulsory introduce their toothpicks to withdraw the snails from the shell. They were having what is known in Catalan as Cargols a la Llauna (something like "roasted snails"), a traditional dish, mainly in spring, in the open, although served in restaurants too. In France it is common and highly appreciated, in many ways, which gives the snail a high cuisine category and price in the menu. They call it Escargot, a word coming from Catalan, and exported the dish to the USA in the XIX century. There are snail feeding farms and the most common to consume are the brown garden snails (Helix aspersa) or the Roman Snails (Helix pomatia). There is evidence that snails were roasted already in Roman times so there's no need to claim any autorship here. I never had a knack for slimy and crawling things but it is fun to see my friends laugh and enjoy the food. I really had a nice pre-spring weekend. Check 58 recipes for Escargots (FR.)
Note: Cargols a la Llauna is a dish original from Lleida, Catalonia.
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