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.
- 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.