With no butter in sight, this salad takes snails to a new place.
If nothing else, harvesting snails from my garden hammered home the degree to which snails have a very mushroom-like quality. There is a reason some chefs like to cook them in olive oil and garlic and herbs and toss them with pasta. This salad is simple and highlights the fungi-like earthy flavor of snails.
Jarred or canned snails work fine here, but if you’re insane, as I am, and decide to catch and prep them from scratch, see how to do it here. Prefer the classic escargots? Find the recipe full of garlic butter here.
Pancetta Snail Arugula Salad
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 12 snails, de-shelled and de-slimed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- 4 cups watercress or arugula
- Dice the pancetta or bacon. Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan, and add the pancetta or bacon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring now and again, until crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- While that cooks, peel and slice the garlic. Add it with the snails to the crispy pancetta/bacon, stir to combine, and add the wine. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes; remove the cover and cook to cook off the excess liquid. While it cooks, mince the parsley.
- Sprinkle in the lemon juice and add the pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley. Drain the liquid from the pan into a large salad bowl. Add the watercress or arugula and toss to coat. Divide the greens between 4 salad plates and top with the snail-pancetta mixture. Serve right away. Cooked snails do not improve with time.