Perhaps the most favorite food for us in Crete, is the appetizer that has the Cretan seal of approval. And it is none other than snails! We learn from children to eat them, to cook them and to gather them.
1 kg of snails
1 kg of dried onions (preferably for stews)
80ml olive oil
200ml red wine
3-4 ripe tomatoes
3-4 laurel leaves
1 pinch of sugar
Salt & pepper
Put the snails in the water and let them wake up for a while. If they move, they’re alive. Discard any which don’t move. With a knife scrape away any dry residue on their shell and remove a membrane that is usually over the door of the shell. Rinse them thoroughly with warm water and allow them to strain for a while. Salt the snails while they’re still alive. In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add the snails, sauté briefly. Quench with the wine and leave to evaporate.
Peel the onions and cut into thick slices if they are large or leave whole if they are small. Add to the pot and stir until browned. Pour in the grated tomatoes and spices. Cover with lid and bake at low heat until onions soften. Check to see if it needs a little hot water from time to time.
When ready, remove from heat, add fresh pepper and let our food simmer for ten minutes before serving. Ideal with French fries.