Mar 19, 2012

caracoles

Snails, we had already learned from our Andalucian neighbours, were easily gathered - cropped from dried out thistle stalks in summer - simple to prepare and good to eat.  All we had to do was remember where they lived and wait for spring.  Sure enough, come March, the snails abandoned their tiny burrows and began to work their way through the vegetation.  And even though we knew exactly where they were, there seemed to be no easy way to crop them in the thick wet grass.  It was my youngest daughter who discovered the secret.  Too young for the big school in town, she attended infant school in the village, where she acquired small friends who knew the territory.  It's easy, said her schoolmates.  Which is how we learned that every morning just before sunrise, drawn together by some strange snail-imperative, the snails would assemble on their bank and climb the broom-spikes to greet the dawn.  As soon as the sun rose above the horizon, they vanished downwards swift as lightning, and hid beyond our reach.  As long as we where there when the sky was reddening, the snails could be plucked from branches like ripe crab-apples, and, when the usual preparations where completed, we could all enjoy the feast.  

Truffles - Elisabeth Luard


Mine were collected from the supermarket, which allows me to skip the "usual preparations", instead going immediately into a broth of onion, garlic, paprika, ham, vegetable stock, piemento verde and a splash of sherry.  This is a messy dish, which involves much slurping from shells and repeated wiping of broth off your chin.  I highly recommend it. 


2 comments:

Marie said...

You are back with a vengeance, Sir! :-)

jvdh said...

It was a good weekend. And the words aren't all allocated to the same thing anymore. Which is nice.