Snails: Food Adventuring “gone wrong”

Today, I tried to cook snails at home.  As I mentioned in my Food Adventuring post, about a month ago, I  bought a pound of boiled apple snails (imported from Thailand).  I’d only eaten snails a couple times and liked them, but I don’t know why I thought cooking them myself was a great idea, but in the spirit of Food Adventuring,  I gave it a shot, and failed miserably.
I thawed the package of snails overnight in the refrigerator.  Then, I rinsed the thawed snails in water. They were obviously thoroughly cooked, and cleaned, but very rubbery. The odor was very similar to clams, but a little bit stronger. Not objectionable, so I went on to simmer them in a garlic-wine broth (water, wine, butter, minced garlic, chives, parsley, salt and pepper).

Results:

Flavor: Overall, mildly disappointing, with a pleasant-enough flavor (mostly from the sauce, however). The snail meat had a stronger aroma than flavor, and the combination aroma/flavor was not as mild as clams, but not as strong as cooked mussels or oysters (I don’t eat raw shellfish). Expected a lot more flavor than the snail delivered, it was more bland than anything else.

Good news: No grit, so the snails were obviously prepared and cleaned well.

Bad news: Rubbery as pencil erasers. The texture ruined it completey for me. There were a few pieces that were tender enough to eat and enjoy, but the larger pieces were very tough and rubbery.

I attempted to simmer longer to see if it helped - and while it did (I found a few more morsels tender enough to eat), the texture still wasn’t enjoyable, and the flavor was so bland, it felt more like I was cooking bits of slightly mussel-scented, but completey tasteless rubber (in a yummy garlic sauce) - not “food-like” enough to warrant continued interest.

Conclusion: I would eat these again only if I was starving or if someone who knew how to make them tender and delicious cooked them (and it’s definitely, not me). I will not be rebuying snailmeat.

In hindsight, I probably should have known better. My only previous experience with mollusc-cooking was also a disaster:

I love calimari, so decided to try to make my own. I followed the fishcounterman’s suggestion to clean (yuck, broke the inksack, double yuck), slice, and then soak the squid in lemon-lime soda (supposedly tenderizes meat), and to dip in egg and panko and fry for only 20 to 30 seconds, until panko browned.

The result was pretty much similar to the snails today (except there’s not much aroma to squid, just a mild salt-water smell). The batter was tasty, but the squid meat was flavorless and inedibly rubbery. Not just chewy like fried clam, but no give at all, like rubber bands (actually, rubberbands probably would have more flavor - they couldn’t have less).

I guess I’ll leave the mollusk-cooking to the experts (flavored rubber, just not “Good Eats”).

One Response to “Snails: Food Adventuring “gone wrong””

  1. round Says:

    You are a brave, brave woman to make snails at home.

    I’m not a big fan of snails in general - even at the best restaurants I find them rubbery and weird in your mouth — but sometimes the thought of garlic butter makes me think they’ll be good this time — I’ve learned I like to dunk bread in the garlic butter and skip the snails — but since that’s not very weight-loss friendly, I just skip them…

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