Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snails in the Shell, Graffiti on the Wall

 
For Saturday lunches, we like to turn out fast but tasty spreads of flavor. Summer finds us bringing home food from the Lebanese deli close by, or maybe the Greek store, or the Italian grocery...cold cuts, bread, olives, cheese and something different like octopus salad or falafal and baba ghanouj.

Teeth chatteringly cold Saturdays in the winter call for something different. I headed out this morning in 15F/-9C degree weather to do our Saturday morning shopping. Living downtown, far from the megamarkets, that usually means stopping at three or four little stores along the way. I stopped at five or six just to keep my eyelashes thawed. The last was a French cheese and vegetable store, where I picked up enough cheese to satisfy the many tastes of the family and then - on a whim - twelve butter and snail filled shells.

Nestled in aluminum foil to keep from tipping their butter out, they baked for ten minutes in an oven set to 450. We each had four and dripped the juices all over toasted bread to finish up. "I love snails," Caroline said. James said "no comment at this time." Which came out, "uhmmm, cheese". Will asked me to make more tomorrow.

We've got a can of snails we brought home from France last summer. We've got butter and parsley. That seems pretty much all you need to make your own. So I will. And maybe this time I'll remember to take pictures of the shells before we scoop out all the goodness!

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{The graffiti lady in the top photo seems very city-like to me, so I thought I'd add her to a post about city living. The tag above her head reads "AIR".}

11 comments:

lizardek said...

EEEWWWW!! I can't believe your kids will eat them! Though, I guess if mine will eat sushi, it's not that much of a stretch. Still. :P

Julia said...

C loves them - she does love chewy things like octopus and oysters so I wasn't surprised really. They taste mostly like butter and garlic, quite a lot to like. (Have you trid them? Really yummy!!)

Since we suspect James would spit them out, he sticks with cheese. No use wasting a good snail ;-).

Ellen said...

Sounds yum! Am guessing much better then our frozen 12 pack which we use to tide ourselves over until a new France visit...

James might have liked them - Julian was already a fan at that age, remember? (Admit it, there just weren't enough to go around... ;))

meredith said...

How very French of you :)

Barrett Bonden said...

That little sophisticate, your daughter! Normally I draw away from anecdotes about popping into quaint little shops, recalling the days when they were all like that and the women shoppers ahead of me in the queue used to talk and talk and talk. And then I'd stagger home carrying, among other things, half a stone of potatoes. But you, I see, are making a virtue out of a necessity, a veritable Autolycus.

Snails, ah... My New England friend and his wife took a short trip with us in northern France some years ago and there were snails on the lunch menu. He was pretty venturesome but couldn't bring himself to order them as a starter. So I had a chat with the waitress, revealed he was a snail virgin and could she bring a couple as a taster. He turned out liking them but the best thing was the waitress. She stayed by our table, her face animated, watching an American lose his snail virginity. No doubt she saw it as a victoire pour la gloire

Julia said...

The quaint little stores are our best sources of sustenance, so that's where we go, but I am always (ALWAYS) thinking of ways they could streamline their service. In the end, the best trick is to adjust my own schedule and only visit when the rest of Prague is off skiing or sitting down to an early lunch.

I can just imagine the scene in the restaurant. The closest equivalent you can get here must be the first time someone drinks one of the Czech herbal liquors. I admit, we offer it up and watch with great expectation ourselves!

BabelBabe said...

I just like the phrase, "No use wasting a good snail."

countrypeapie said...

I'm with James on the snails. Our only snails live in an aquarium. Can you believe it was 15F here recently? If only there were quaint little shops in which to thaw our eyelashes. Instead we try to come up with new ways of keeping the chickens' water in a liquid state. I love the graffiti, as always.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I don't believe I've ever eaten a snail! Really--they're good?

Julia said...

Meg: 15F in Alabama? That's crazy! I hope it really is warmer now. Houses in Prague are cold at 15, I can't imagine it there. Chicken water - what happens if you keep it bubbling somehow with an aquarium oxygenator? It would be cold, but they could still drink.

GG: if you like garlic and butter you'd like snails. We love them, but this was the first time we've eaten them outside of France.

Graffit On the Sun said...

I like the graffiti pic. You're right the lady does remind me of a city (her clothes look a bit like a big building.