Thursday, August 30, 2007

Look at that S-Car-Go!

Originally uploaded by alpharat
If you read this site with any regularity, you're aware of my love for shellfish. Generally, this comes in the form of oysters, clams and mussels, which can all be purchased live and on ice at one of the various fishmongers in the area (they're not exclusively fishmongers, but I like that word).

This love of shellfish also includes snails, which don't live in the water and probably aren't shellfish at all, but they have shells, and I'm not sure how else to classify them.

I've had escargot at a few places, but always at restaurants. The best escargot I ever had was in Paris (go figure!), but I've had it in restaurants stateside as well, and it was always quite good.

A week or so ago, we decided to get frozen escargot from a local gourmet shop as an appetizer to a big Italian Sunday dinner of spaghetti and clams in white whine and garlic. (I know, you're either thinking "more shellfish" or "escargot is French! Why have it before Italian food?" Either response is fine, but it was our dinner so we're allowed to mix things up.)

I'd never had frozen escargot before (although I'm sure most restaurants in the U.S. probably use it, I'd never made it at home). It was quite easy; simply throw it in the oven until it bubbled, then serve it up.


I don't know if you've ever eaten a petting zoo, but while I haven't either, I can only imagine that this is what it would taste like. It tasted like a bunch of dirty little goats running around, knocking children over, chewing on whatever they could get their mouths on and doing their business wherever they pleased.

That's not a good flavor. We pitched the snails without even making it through one.

Fortunately, the rest of the meal was exquisite.

I think we've decided that we will never again prepare snails in our house.


tanagrame said...

I'd say next time either check out your local co-op garden for some fresher goods or inquire at a Vietnamese restaurant of your liking. Maybe you can have them add some extra snails to their regular order.I feel for ya tho. Eating nasty snails is like chewing moldy bark.

Jennifer said...

Hi Maureen!

After the big build-up, my hopes were dashed, like so much snail shit, to the floor!

We've seen brown garden snails around here -- probably edible, as almost 200 varieties of land snail are, but these were just too small to bother with, so we went to McDonald's and had a filet-o-fish sandwich instead. I saw them in Royal Oak too, but, again, too small.

Escargots are a terrestrial mollusk, which is fancy-talk for a mollusk that lives on land. A mollusk is ... a snail, land-dwelling or sea-dwelling. An extra-terrestrial mollusk is Miss North Carolina's brain.

You knew all that, didn't you?

Oysters, clams, mussels -- all these are mollusks, too. Mussels are easier to do at home -- chop a buttload of garlic, dump it in a pan of enough dry white wine to cover your mussels, simmer til the shells separate. I then cool 'em & shell 'em & chill 'em & serve 'em in little rice bowls (without rice). Toss any that don't open -- they'll make you ill.

I picked up frozen lobster tails and crab claws today, at Sam's Club. I've had pretty good luck there with this kind of quick fix for a seafood craving -- enough butter & wine pretty much makes anything palatable. And, believe it or not, I've had good luck with fresh mussels at Meijer!


Both of these stores are fewer than 100 miles from my house! ;-)

fineartist said...

I went to California to visit my aunt as a child, and while I was there I was entertained, so they say, very nicely by the snails on the back patio. Yeah, it didn't take much to entertain me.

Then my damned mean ass cousin came out with a salt shaker and doused my friends, they sort of melted like the witch in the wizard of oz, as I remember. Damn him.

I've never eaten snails, could you tell where this was going? And it sounds like you've made a good decision here...

Holly said...

The closest I've come to escargot was when my cousin used to throw snails at me when we were kids.

But if you made them, I would try them, oh yes, I would try.

Also, I apparently had a problem regarding your gender identity, but my proxy Auntie cleared it up for me, as she clears up so many things for me. :)

Angeline Rose Larimer said...

Eating nasty snails is like eating...nasty snails.
Never had a snail. Indiana snails (the kind that live in the woods) aren't considered a delicacy to my knowledge, so I've always been deprived. Never eaten a toad, either. Frog, I mean. We have a toad/frog living in our barn. It would never cross my mind to eat him unless the children were starving. Same goes for snails. Took a pregnancy to get me to eat sushi but I didn't speak to Tom the hour after the lunch when he brought home eel sushi and I had to watch him eat it all. I like salmon, tuna and veggies. Eel? Puh. Tiggers don't like eel.

So if I'd been to dinner, I'd have eaten my weight in spaghetti and drank it down with the wine until I passed out.
I believe this means I'm more Italian than French which completely contradicts

I appreciate the honesty about the nasty snails, though. It'd been my like, I'd have thought that's what they're supposed to taste like.

Angeline Rose Larimer said...

my luck, damnit.

That's what I get for listening to Rock Lobster while I type.

fineartist said...

Only if the kids are starving, I like that, I do.

Me too, I'd of thought they were supposed to taste like that too Ange.

Hear that? I am a clearer up of unclear things, thanks Hoo, I like that.