Escargot in Garlic and Shallot Butter

Escargot? Yes, that's snails! Snails? Really? Hell, yeah!!!

Snails are consumed across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Far East. There is much misinformation around the preparation, proposing snails as complicated in preparation and even dangerous to eat.

Let's prepare some snails ...

Catch a number of snails from your garden and put them in a ventilated box from which they cannot naturally escape.

For a week, or so, feed them human consumable food to purge their guts out of soil and grit. Lettuce leaves, herbs, that kind of thing - strong herbs are great because the snails will adopt that flavour!

Two or three days before you want to cook them, do not feed them any more. This will purge out their digestive tract. Commercially, snails are simply hung up in baskets for a couple of weeks.

Wash the snails thoroughly and bring up a large pan of water to the boil and maintain a rolling boil. Simply add the snails to the water and boil for three minutes.

Drain the water and then tackle each snail in turn with a special two prong fork to winkle them out of their shells. The shells can be re-washed and used later to place the cooked snails back into for serving, but this is not necessary.

Salting is not necessary, nor is cornflower; both were believed to remove the sliminess from the snails, but simple boiling is all that is necessary.

... or simply buy a can of prepared snails.

Finely chops some shallot and much garlic, placing in an ovenproof dish.

Add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and some butter, lard, dripping or bacon grease.

Add the snails and bake in a pre-heated oven for a ten minutes or so at 180C, or fry off on the hob. Oven cooking retains more moisture.

Serve over a plate of the things you fed the snails - lettuce, cabbage, herbs and so on, and a good grind of freshly milled black pepper.

Bon appetit!


Ginger & Thyme Hinted Duck Breast over Shredded Cabbage

Duck breast will render all the fat you need to cook this whole dish! I don't need to say how good for you duck fat is.

First warm up a frying pan and without adding any further fat, place the duck breasts in skin side down and hold them down with a fish slice.

After about 90 seconds, let go and let them cook on a slightly lower heat for another few minutes. You'll see the fat render out.

Turn the breasts over onto a bed of fresh thyme and a little chopped ginger and, on a really low heat, let them simmer in their own juices for another 5 minutes, or so ... perfectly pink, but cooked is the goal.

Meanwhile, shred and steam some cabbage.

Set the duck breasts on a board to rest, frying off some chorizo in the rendered fat and tossing in the steamed cabbage at the end to collect all the good fat. The chorizo brings all the saltiness and spiciness necessary to elevate this dish.

Simple, eh?

Serve out, cabbage down first and slices of duck breast over the top.