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Monday, August 13, 2012

CARACOLES, PLATO DE, WITH SNAILS IN SPICY BRANDY SAUCE RECIPE

Spanish Snails
Photo by: MRSamper
Hisp Ar. qawqan, Eng. snail dish. Unlike the French, Spanish snails are not served in melted butter and garlic but in a spice sauce that transposes the snail from an insipid dish to tasty adventure. The recipe has been traced back to Al-Andalus. It was one of the few dishes that is
native to the area. Snails, in Villena’s day, were removed from the shell with mezzaluna and the black stomach was discarded. They were eaten with a mezzaluna meaning “half moon.” It is like a hachoir or herb chopper but in the Middle Ages, it was a sharp instrument with two points, thinner than prongs at each end. It did not have a handle. It had a double curved blade. Snails were eaten year round as they were not prohibited during Lent or on other fast days. Although snails seem to be prolific, they only mate once in their lives, which can take up to 12 hours. See punganes. [ES: Castro. “The Role.” Aug 3, 03; Pers. Memories. Feb 18, 02; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a] 

SNAILS IN BRANDY SAUCE COMPLIMENTS OF THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF
For 4-6 persons

snail wash
Photo from: sole*luna
Ingredients

2 lbs snails[1]
½ c olive oil
1 garlic clove peeled and mashed
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground cloves
1 onion peeled and chopped
1 sprig thyme chopped
1 tbsp cilantro chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 fresh mint sprigs
salt to taste
1 c brandy

Preparation

Mercado de San Miguel
Photo from: Soulful Sweets
Do not feed snails for 7 days.[2] Wash them inside and out. Fill a saucepan with water and add the snails. Bring it to a boil and drain. Add fresh water and bring it to a boil again.

Heat a saucepan. Add olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the herbs and spices and simmer adding about 3 tbsp water for 5 minutes.

Strain the snails and place them in an earthenware dish. Pour the sauce over them. Add the brandy. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hr. A a little water if necessary.


[1] If going the medieval way, the cook should remove the snails from their shells.
[2] By doing this the stomachs do not need to be removed.

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