Caracóis and The Art of Snail Cooking

Caracóis à Algarvia
photo by retinafunk

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2Kg of snails
  • salt
  • oregano sticks

Preparing the Snails

Eight days before cooking you need to purge the snails, for that you put them inside a container with holes (small enough not to let them escape) and covered with a net (or a sieve). You can give them some flour or bran to help with the purge or any toxins and help them grow a bit.
After that you wash the snails several times in slat water, they will be ready when there is no slime in the water.
Put them inside a pan with about 2 or 3 fingers of water above the snails and take it in low heat gradually increasing so the snails get their heads out.
Throw in some coarse salt and when the snails are almost done put in the oregano sticks. The oregano leaves should be left out because they will transmit a bitter taste to the snails. Some people add a little pepper or chilli.
Snails usually cook for half an hour to a maximum of 40 minutes; keep them in the cooking water until serving time. Best when warm, take them out of the shells with a pin.
Snail season is around May and are usually eaten outdoors in the hot summer nights.