Spring’s First Copse Snails

A couple of weeks ago I collected the first copse snails in this spring. During dry seasons copse snails are hiding, but you need only one rainy day to collect a bunch of them. Here in North snails aren’t usually recognized as gourmet food, but in Southern Europe snails are consumed like soap. I enjoy cooking things collected by my own hands, especially when we have something so exotic like snails here in Finland!

Copse snails  crawling upon my hand.

Like the name implies, copse snails can be found in copse like forests.

Copse snail on a bottom of copse wood.

“Well hello there! Would You like to hear about Jesus?”

Copse snail on a bottom of a copse wood.

Copse snails peeking out of the plastic container.

Before snails can be eaten, they need a detoxification. Snails are kept in a clean, closed container, they are fed by oatmeal and washed with pure water. Snails need also air, so the container is punched to make small holes for the ventilation. After a couple of weeks later, the waste made by the snails becomes white, which means that the possible toxic plant remains are secreted out of the snails. Then the snails are fasted a couple of days, still washing them, and finally they can be cooked. Every possible dead snail should be removed as quick as possible and shouldn’t be consumed!

A macro image from leafs with water droplets on them.

A couple of macro images taken during the snail hunt.

A macro image from freshly green, young leafs of a birch.

After the detoxification and fasting, the snails are washed and put into hot, boiling water and are kept there about five minutes (snails are finished like crayfish with quick heat shock). Then the snails are removed from their shells by a stick. After the shells are removed, I sauté the snails in butter with garlic and chives I grow in my balcony (I grow only the later one). Salt and pepper mix are also added. Then I add beer or white wine and boil the snails for a while, usually about 20 minutes. Then I take the snails and put them in the holes of snail pans. Garlic butter, which is made by mixing butter, garlic, cheese grates, chives and/or parsley, is added onto the snails. Then, finally, the pans are covered with cheese grates and are grilled in the oven with 200 degrees of Celsius. When the cheese is nicely browned, after about 15 minutes, the snails are served with white bread and good drinks. Bon appétit!

Copse snails and chives on a plate. Copse snails and chives on a plate.

Sautéeing of copse snails with butter and garlic.

Here the snails are sautéed just before the beer is added and boiled down.

Copse snails prepared in snail pan with garlic butter and cheese.

In my oven there are grill resistors I use for finishing my snail dishes.

Copse snails in snail pans with garlic butter and cheese.

Yummy! Snail dishes are also quite esthetical, that’s why I took so many photos. 😀

Copse snails in snail pans with garlic butter and cheese.

Many people say that one cannot actually taste the snails because of the dominating garlic. In my mind this isn’t true, because behind the garlic I can taste an aroma that I haven’t found anywhere else. Also the structure of snails is not so ordinary, it somehow resembles the meat of squids. Anyhow, an excellent, small gourmet dish, which is fun to prepare!

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