Yambol Snail Gratin Recipe

I love cooking and snails and would rather have them on my plate than in my garden. For your information, most if not all snails are edible, they can be made into an excellent meal and of course all for free if you find your own. The meat is nutritious, virtually fat free and depending on where you pick your snails, chemical-free.

The recipe given here is my own and specifically for the European Garden Snail (Cornu aspersa) and has been made from ingredients that were available to me living in Bulgaria.

Yambol Snail Gratin

Serves 2

  • 30-40 live snails
  • 3-4 green garlic thinly sliced
  • 200 grams butter or margarine
  • 50 grams sunflower oil
  • A large dash of Rakia (homemade if possible)
  • Vegetable stock cube
  • Salt
  • Water (enough to cover the snails)
  • Breadcrumbs

Ingredients not available in your country can be substituted
Rakia for brandy or dry white wine
Sirene for goat cheese or other white cheese
Green Garlic for Dried garlic

Preparation of the Snails:

The snails need to fast for at least two days before being cooked. It is best to use a plastic bowl and some chicken wire over the top. They need to be stored in a cool and well-ventilated place. Rinsing them out with plenty of running water every 12 hours is recommended.

Prepare a pan of boiling water add the stock and salt and carefully add the live snails. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Using a colander drain the water off. When cool enough to handle, use a pin or sharp skewer and extract the snail meat form the shells. Try to get the whole snail meat not just the first section you will be surprised how much snails there is in there. Once all extracted rinse and put to one side.

In a frying pan add the butter, garlic and bring to an agitated sizzle, then add the rakia and the snail meat immediately after. Continue frying on a high heat whilst stirring all the time for 2-3 minutes add a pinch of salt and stir then take away from the heat.

Place the snail mixture equally in ovenproof bowls and cover with breadcrumbs and sprinkle a little crumbled sirene over the top of this. Place under a grill until you see the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.

Serve hot with cold lager type beer.

This snail dish can be served the next day as a cold snack.

The snails can be refrigerated for one or two days or frozen up to three months once boiled and picked out of their shells. Make sure they are defrosted thoroughly before frying if frozen and keep in air-tight containers.
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