Weekend Recipe: Snails from the garden and drops of homemade garlic sauce

068 lumache e salsa all'aglio

Off the busy activities of the week, here we are to relax and enjoy one of those little things that we love to do at the weekend and, since cooking is one of my favourite, let’s do it, let’s go in the kitchen! In the meantime, the splendid voice of Ella Fitzgerald will flow like a soft wave, and the light of the day will paint of vibrant colors this Sunday afternoon. We had a bizarre weather, during the last week: how good occasion to explore the garden in the early morning and look for snails! It is an old tradition that I learnt from my family when I was very young and, since we do not use pesticides in our small orchard and on our vegetables, the only way to prevent the snails from eating our salad is to prepare a delicious dish by using them as main ingredient.

So, here we have a good handful of snails that we submit to the ‘cleaning’ process by leaving them in a covered bowl for two or three days, and then, after having sprinkled some flour on them, leave them again to rest for a couple of days more. Then, wash and strain them and add some salt. Keep on working energically with your hands (in the bowl) in order to get both foam and impurities out of the snails. Wash, strain and start cooking them.

In a pan, pour and heat some extra virgin olive oil, add rings of onion and leaves of sage and, as soon as the extra virgin olive oil starts sizzling, add the snails and keep on cooking. The fragrance of sage will melt in the air with the fruit spiced flavour of the extra virgin olive oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

As for the garlic sauce, which is widely prepared in all the Mediterranean area and served in different and well distinct versions, crush a couple of cloves of garlic in the mortar. Then, by using the pestle, work it, add an egg yolk (room temperature), few drops of lemon, white pepper, a pinch of salt and pour gently, drop by drop, some extra vergin olive oil. Whisk the emulsion like a mayonnaise. As for me, I prefer to do it by hand instead of using the blender for having a velvety thin sauce. In case the sauce will be thicker, you may add a teaspoon of warm water at a time.

Serve the snails by decorating the plate with few drops of garlic sauce and fragranced leaves of sage, warm crisp buttered bread and pair the dish with a glass of very good beer.

Enjoy a nice dinner!

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Familiar Culinary Tastes and Flavours of This Time of the Year

Christmas recipes - Polpettone

Good morning,

the first light of a new day is slowly rising on the beginning of a November week. Everything is soft, calm outside of the window, leaves timidly tremble and gently swish on the tree making glowing a myriad of little stars all around, everything is the promise of new things to do that will bring us in the usual working activities. Looking around, some balconies are already decorated with Christmas lights, indeed also visiting some shops you can feel that warm cosy Christmassy atmosphere. So, why not starting  with familiar culinary tastes and flavours of this time of the year? How about those traditional meals, prepared with heart and simplicity that once and still make together different ages in a family tree?

Let’s prepare one of the most popular, cheap meals that children and growns up cheerfully welcome during Christmas celebrations: today we’re going to make a ‘polpettone’ (meatloaf) according to my family recipes notebook. First of all, it is neccessary to say that if you have little time to prepare it, perhaps it is better to make more than one and smaller ‘polpettoni’, since it is easier and faster to cook them. The ingredients are: minced beef and pork (500g should be ok for four meatloaves), 1 or 2 eggs, a sprinkle of salt, marjoram, thyme, chili pepper powder, fresh parsley, bread crumbs, grated parmigiano, and little red wine (I have used half glass of a full-bodied, ruby fruity Primitivo from my land, Apulia). Next step is to mx all together, make a meatball and stuff in the middle some thin slices of ‘Mortadella Bologna IGP’ and small cubes of spicy ‘Provola Auricchio’. Work the meat loaves with your hands and fry them in extra virgin olive oil for few minutes until they will have a golden brown surface. Place gently the meatloaves in a sauce pan, where you have already prepared a smooth bell peppers cream (red onion, extravirgin olive oil, bell peppers, small cherry tomatoes, red wine, salt and pepper, vegetable bouillon. Cook it for about 15 min and then use the minipimer to make a cream) and keep on cooking the meatloaves until they will be well done, avoiding the melted cheese to come all out (let’s say about ten minutes more). Serve very warm with the bell peppers cream, good farmer’s bread and a glass of intense red wine. Wish everybody bon appétit and have a good week!