If you think the French are the only ones who enjoy snails, think again. Greeks are just as keen on eating the little mollusks. While there are snail farms in Greece, you can forage for them in the wild. There is a field not far from our house with little snails, about the size of a dime.
Last summer was the first time I ate them after my uncle-in-law showed up with a plate full. This year, I decided to try my hand at foraging and cooking them myself. And so, armed with a little plastic bag, I set out to pick a few dozen. While foraging, two dragonflies kept circling. One landed on a blade of grass next to me, just long enough to snap a picture. They were wonderfully playful and acted as my little foraging buddies.
Upon returning home, I rinsed the snails to remove any dirt from their shells and placed them in a closed container with a few holes for air, some water, and dill. It is important to feed or starve the snails to cleanse them from anything they ate previously. Knowing that certain risks exist with eating wild foods, I decided to do some additional research around the recommended cleansing period. The Chow states one to two weeks, while my uncle-in-law recommends one day. Taking a middle of the road approach, I opted for three days. Unfortunately, I should have stuck with my uncle-in-law’s advice. While the snails were doing well on the second day, by the third, all but five had perished.
Had my foraging efforts been a success, I would have boiled the snails for thirty minutes, and sautéed them in a pan with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and some chopped parsley. This would have made for a wonderful little mezze to be enjoyed with ouzo or a glass of chilled white wine. Maybe next year...