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Snails, escargot, wall fruit - whatever you call them they're one of those 'delicacies' most people have only ever dared to eat in a restaurant, where a skilled chef has already done the tricky job of making them taste nice.

Traditionally they've been produced in France, in a practice that dates back to Roman times. But when a small company in Dorset got in touch, who've been quietly (and one presumes, slowly) farming snails near the south coast for almost a decade, we couldn't resist getting a few to try

IN THE KITCHEN:

We gave a pack of 'blanched' snails a whizz in the kitchen and came up with a pretty delicious dinner party starter in just a few minutes. Snails are molluscs, albeit terrestrial ones, and share many characteristics with their cousins - clams, scallops and mussels, which are incredibly popular. So what's there to be squeamish about?

• We sweated down finely chopped shallots with crushed garlic, thyme and chilli flakes in a generous quantity of butter.

Shallots, butter and garlic

• We added the blanched snails and fried on a high heat for a couple of minutes with a good glug of white wine and some Calvados, en flambé for added style. Ooh la la.

Flambéed snails

• Just before serving we squeezed in some lemon, added some chopped parsley and served on slices of toasted baguette.

C'était délicieux! Try it as part of a French-themed menu with double-baked cheese soufflés and an apple tarte tatin.
Have you tried cooking snails before? Give it a go and let us know what you think!

Snails supplied by www.dorsetsnails.co.uk

 

About the author

Emma Franklin
Emma is our former Assistant Food Editor. She's the Queen of thinking outside the box (check out her picnic loaf recipe!), and a big fan of anything spicy.