Tapas
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Snails in Biscayne Sauce
Spain - Basque
- Caracoles a la Vizcaina
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
15 app  
***
6 hr  
Yes

Officially you start with live snails in the shell, but in most of North America this isn't practical - so see Note-1. If you can't get or don't want to deal with snails, see Note-6..


2
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1-3/4
1
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sm
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sm

c
t
T
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Snail meat (1)
-- Court Bouillon
Onion
Leek
Carrot
Parsley bunch
Bay Leaves
Water (2)
Salt
Vinegar
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Eggs
Onion
Serrano Ham (3)
Chorizo (4)
Olive Oil ExtV
Biscayne Sauce (5)
Red Pepper Flake
  1. IF using LIVE SNAILS follow the directions on the page Preparing Live Snails.
    IF using cooked snails or frozen snail meat, boil plenty of water and parboil the snails for about 2 minutes (thaw the snails first).
  2. Make COURT BOUILLON. Chop all the vegetables and put in a pan with water salt and vinegar. Simmer for about 1/2 hour, then strain and discard the vegetables.
  3. Simmer Snails in Court Bouillon until as tender as you want them. From frozen apple snail meat this can be as long as 5 hours. Some sources say fresh vineyard snails are ready in about an hour.
  4. Meanwhile: Make Biscayne Sauce.
  5. Hard boil EGGS, cool, shell, eat the whites with a little salt and save the yolks.
  6. Chop Onion fine.
  7. Chop Ham and Chorizo fine. Mix.
  8. When Snails are done: In a sauté pan, heat Olive Oil over moderate heat and fry Onions for a couple of minutes. Stir in Ham mix and continue to fry over moderate heat until sausage begins to brown.
  9. Stir in Biscayne Sauce. Cook stirring over moderate heat until bubbly.
  10. Stir in Snails, mixing them well with the sauce. Chop Egg Yolks fine and mix them in along with the Pepper Flakes. Continue to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  11. Serve warm. I serve this in a sauce warmer (a tiny Crock Pot) and put out a basket of toast squares and a spoon.
NOTES:
  1. Snails:   The original recipe calls for about 3 pounds live vineyard snails in the shell. Tubs of live snails are very scarce in North America, even here in Los Angeles, so we must compromise. The suggested alternative is canned in-the-shell snails from France. They can be had, but the awe inspiring cost makes them impractical too. Fortunately, the Asian markets around here have a plentiful supply of frozen Apple Snails and Apple Snail Meat at reasonable prices. Our recipe, based on apple snail meat, gets you a whole lot more snail meat than you'd get from the live snails. Note that 2 pounds of frozen snails will get you a little less than 1 pound cooked tender. For details, see our Apple Snail page. If you do go for live snails, see our page Preparing Live Snails page.
  2. Water:   If using snails in the shell, use enough water to cover them by 1 or 2 inches.
  3. Serrano Ham:   This is an unsmoked salt cured ham, now legal in the US, but astoundingly expensive. Some similar are made in North America now, but are still scarce. A similar product available at almost any deli is Italian Prosciutto.
  4. Chorizo:   NOT Mexican chorizo, but also not a hard dry Spanish chorizo. This needs to be Chorizo de Balbao or a similar semi-cured cooking chorizo. I buy Balbao from the freezer cases in Philippine markets (USA made), but it can be ordered from Spanish sausage makers like La Espanola Meats. If you can't find it, use a firm, mildly hot pork sausage. For details see our Sausage page.
  5. Biscayne Sauce:   This is a very famous sauce in the Basque region and is not difficult to make. See our recipe Biscayne Sauce.
  6. Option:   So you're not quite up to dealing with snails. No problem, this recipe is already less than totally authentic on a couple counts, so instead of snails you can use diced Duck Gizzards. These are available in most Asian markets and take a lot less simmering than snails. The flavor is reasonably similar and the texture more tender (depending on cooking time).
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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