Snails are cooked only after leaving them purge for at least 5 days. Let’s specify that we are talking about snails with a shell and not slugs although you will hear them called “lumache” (slugs) in the whole of Tuscany, in restaurant menus too.
How to purge snails
- Unless you bought farmed snails that have been already cleaned and boiled, before cooking this recipe you need to let them purge.
- In order to purge them , snails must be kept in a big airy box so that they can get some air but cannot escape. A colander with some weights on top might be a good solution.
- Leave the snails there for 5 days and rinse them at least twice a day. Snails must eat salad for the first two days to start the purging process, the following two days they must only eat bran and the fifth day they must not be fed.
- At this point they are duly purged, so first of all rinse them and bury them in coarse salt and vinegar. In this way they will excrete all their slime before dying. Put snails in a perforated container (for instance a plastic fruit box) and thoroughly rinse them under running water.
- 1.5 kg snails
- 500 grs peeled tomatoes
- coarse salt
- fresh fennel
- 700 grs bacon
- 1 tube tomato concentrate
- 300 grs anchovies
- Now that snails are well purged and ready to be cooked, put them in a pan covered with water and boil them adding half of the aromatic herbs you have prepared (sage, rosemary, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, fresh fennel, thyme, marjoram, and peppermint).
- Drain removing herbs and pay attention to broken shells. In order to avoid shell pieces from being into the sauce, remove snails from their broken shells.
- Mince bacon and finely chop chili and all the remaining aromatic herbs mixing all together. Put the mixture in a large pan and let it brown.
- Finely chop capers and anchovies and add them to bacon as soon as it starts browning.
- Then add peeled tomatoes with tomato concentrate and salt and pepper to your taste.
- Turn down the flame to minimum and let cook for other 3 hours.