SNAILS WITH WILD GREENS AND FENNEL
Snails are one of the most sought-after, delectable appetizers. Since ancient times they have been worshiped as a delicacy by the beloved ones all over the world. For us Cretans, They are the best appetizers with wine and raki.
Snails wait for the rain so they can come out of their shells. They go "licking and crawling" through the grass and wet rocks, carelessly searching for their food. Every time I go out in the garden after the rain, I’m careful where I step so as not to damage any of the snails. Immediately I have memories of my childhood, with the villagers going out to gather snails after the first rain of October. But what was most striking was the snail collection at night. My father and friends took torches out at night and within two hours they would bring a basket of snails back to the house.
1/2 kg of snails
1 bunch of fennel
1 bunch of various dark greens
1 dried onion
1 medium tomato (grated)
150ml olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey
Salt & pepper
Put the snails in relatively warm water and allow them to wake up for a while. Discard any dead snails. With a knife scrape any dry residues from their shell and remove the membrane that is usually covering the opening. Rinse them thoroughly with warm water and allow them to strain for a while.
In a saucepan, put the olive oil and onion finely chopped, then add the snails and fry for 3 minutes.
Clean the greens well and let them dry. Cut the fennel and the leek into large pieces and put in the pan, add the grated tomato and leave to cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. (The fennel and leeks are put in earlier because they need more time to cook.)
Then add the rest of the finely chopped greens. Salt the food, add some warm water and cook for about another 15 minutes.
When cooked, we can add a tablespoon of honey. (Don't be scared, it gives a delicious taste to our food. I was taught by a monk in a monastery here in Heraklion in Agia Irini Chrysovalantou. We arrived at the monastery on August 15th and made our food with reddish potatoes and fennel and in the end there was honey added. I was surprised, but he informed me that honey fits very well with fennel. It was really great. I suggest you try it.)