Portuguese Snails Recipe
Portuguese snails, also known as "caracóis" in Portuguese, are a popular dish in Portugal, especially during the warmer months. The dish typically consists of small, edible land snails that are cooked in a flavorful broth made with garlic, herbs, and spices.
To prepare the dish, the snails are first cleaned and boiled in water to remove any impurities. Then, they are simmered in the broth until they are tender and flavorful. The broth may also include ingredients such as olive oil, bay leaves, and paprika.
Portuguese snails are typically served as a snack or appetizer, often accompanied by a cold beer or a glass of wine. They are usually eaten with toothpicks or small forks, and diners often discard the empty shells in a separate bowl.
While Portuguese snails may not be to everyone's taste, they are considered a beloved cultural tradition in Portugal and can be found in many restaurants and cafes throughout the country.
- If buying a bucket of imported frozen snails, these slimy suckers will likely have to been cleaned, but if buying them fresh like most people in Portugal do in markets throughout the warmer months (the city of Setubal is known for its caracois) or in many cases pick them right off grassy fields on a foggy day when the slugs tend to come out, the cleaning process is really the most tedious part. It requires submerging the snails (kind of brutal, I know, but there’s no other way) in a bucket filled with room temperature water, salt and vinegar. You do this until there is no more snot or the least amount possible.
- In a wide and deep pot add the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and Tabasco sauce (three tea spoons or to taste).
- Sauté until the onion and garlic is golden.
- Add white wine and after a minute or so, add the snails and just enough water to cover the snails and add salt (if using frozen snails, cook in the water in which it was packaged and add more if needed).
- Let boil and then cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the black pepper and serve with plenty of napkins and tooth picks.