You Say Garden Snail, I Say Escargot!
The garden snail. They are formidable pests which have tormented gardeners for generations. There are more and less environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of garden snails. How about turning them into a gourmet meal? Sure - why not feast on them before they feast on your produce? Snails are close relatives of clams and oysters, so try substituting snails in recipes that call for other mollusks.
Keep your appetite in check while you do your prep work:
You need to deslime snails before using them in recipes (see what I mean?). Soak them in water with 1 tbsp. of vinegar and 2 tbsp. of salt for every dozen snails. Change the solution several times. After soaking, rinse the snails then boil in just enough water to cover them for 10 minutes. Pick the snails out of the shell with a needle or nut pick, or simply crack the shell between your thumb and forefinger to remove the snail. Cut off the intestines and black parts. Also remove the tail, cartilage and gristle, if desired.
You can buy reusable shells, which are sold in import or gourmet shops as "coquilles". Stuff two garden snails in each shell and press herb butter into the opening. Bake at 425 degrees until the butter bubbles.
Go on - embrace the garden snail with open arms and an empty stomach. From now on if you catch a snail eating your lettuce, eat the snail! Simple, sustainable, effective and delicious.
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