I ate my first snail
I ate my first snail (or escargot as the French call them) at my aunt’s house in France. It was warm, buttery, slightly chewy and delectable. I didn’t really know what to expect. When I was little, I read about eating snails in Mary Poppins and have wanted to try them ever since.
My aunt boiled the snails until they were tender then flash fried them with butter, fresh herbs and garlic. They are the easiest things to make, she told us.
She didn’t have the little fancy tongs to dig out the little creatures from their shells so we used toothpicks. The secret is to stick the toothpick straight into the opening of the shell, stab the snail meat, wiggle the toothpick a bit to loosen the meat from the shell, then yank and the curly, little buttery snail should come out whole, plump, juicy and moist, ready to be devoured.
I love seafood, especially shellfish and that’s what snails remind me of, some happy cross between a mussel and an oyster with firmer meat.
Escargo is considered a delicacy. I’m not sure how this came about, after all, they are just insects. Then again, lobsters are now a delicacy and were once considered as garbage until five star Chicago chefs started including them on fine dining menus.
I know that Eat St. featured a food cart in Portland called Creme de la Creme that served snails. They have since closed so I’m pretty lost on where to get my snail fix now.