Gardener’s Revenge (2 of 3) Preparing Homegrown Escargot

Even though they’ve been boiled already, once out of the shell, snails still need to be cooked. There are lots variations on what exactly escargot can be poached in, but the goal is essentially to cheat a court bouillon. It is a matter of preference, but I go for a red wine base.
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Gardener’s Revenge (1 of 3) Processing Homegrown Escargot

Om nom nom
Helix aspersa, eating comfortably in captivity.

Last Spring I got frustrated with replacing my herb seedlings weekly, and made an effort to rid my potted garden of the scourge of hungry snails. In a search for the perfect species-directed pesticide, I identified the particular species of nocturnal basil-destroyers as Helix aspersa*. That’s where my poisoning plan took a hard right turn. Helix aspersa, it turns out, are one of several European native terrestrial snails that are edible. Delicious, even. The French call them “Les Petits Gris”, and favour them over the larger species Helix pomatia. Introduced to England from Italy by the Romans, they were regularly eaten well beyond WWII by poor East-Londoners who used a meal of snails to get around the Anglican Church’s no-meat-on-Friday rule – by dubbing them “wall fish.” Such rich history behind these varmints.
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