SNAILS WITH BULGAR WHEAT AND SOUR CREAM
October is my favorite season, with the first rains slowly making their appearance. The earth smells, the soil smells, the air smells. The earth thirsts for the gift of heaven. We enter another era. A rainy month, sowing and harvesting, as it was referred to by old people in other times waiting for nature to give them her gifts.
It’s the time when the tired snails come out to satiate after their summer lethargy. Early in the morning, after the night drizzle they investigate their neighborhood, on rocks, on branches, on tree trunks, in fallen leaves, in the soil for their food.
My grandmother Elizabeth took me to gather snails telling me that she knew where there were lots and we could quickly fill the basket. We collected with both our hands, bent over without tiring at all. When we filled the basket, she took her apron off her waist and filled that too so that they would not escape until we got home.
We put them in the big basket. Grandma put flour in the basket for the snails to eat and salt around the top of the basket to stop them escaping! The snails stay there for some days to detoxify.
Cretans go crazy for snails. Whatever you cook them with, they lick their fingers. They’re well – known to be the best appetizer for raki and wine. They have fed generations and generations throughout the ages and during the summer months, people wait for it to get wet so they can enjoy snails.
Today we are going to bake a dynamic snail dish. You will see how tasty the food is. But always remember this as you grow up: As a cook to be above the saucepan, to care about and to make good food!
500g of snails
500g of coarse bulgur wheat
2 dried onions
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
100ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3-4 laurel leaves
Salt & pepper
Put the snails in lukewarm water awake for a while. Discard any dead ones. With a knife, scrape dry residues from their shell and remove the membrane that is usually at the opening. Rinse them thoroughly with warm water and allow them to strain for a while.
Sauté the chopped onion in a saucepan, add the snails, stir and then add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the herbs and salt.
Add a glass of water and leave over medium heat for a quarter of an hour.
Remove with a spoon onto a plate. Pour about 1.5 liters of water (apply 1 to 3) salt and allow to boil.
When it has boiled, throw in the coarse bulgur wheat (we can use half Carolina rice half bulgur wheat or only rice) bake for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
When ready, add the snails and boil for about 5 minutes.
Add fresh pepper and cover with a towel, allow food to stand for 10 minutes before serving.