Recipe | Sicilian Babaluci In Ammoglio d’aglio

Sicily 2007 629 One of my favorite experiences while visiting Sicily was enjoying snails for dinner which we had plucked from a field earlier that day.  Freshly made garlic tomato broth is the most traditional way to serve Sicilian Babaluci (these snails are not the same variety found in North America).  The babaluci is traditionally served with bread for dipping in the broth, referred to as “Ammoglio d’aglio”.

It is important to only use fresh ingredients (garden-grown or local organically grown) as the flavor will not be the same if you do not. All portions (as with any recipe) can modify to your taste.  It might also be worth mentioning that the flavor of the Ammoglio d’aglio only gets better after sitting overnight.

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Basic Ingredients:

2 lb Babaluci (small land snails)
Crusty Italian bread

Babaluci Preparation:

Place the snails in a pot and rinse thoroughly with cold water to soften/open membrane (you may soak them for an hour or more, but expect them to find their way out of the container).  Drain and rinse once more in cold water that contains a generous amount of salt.  Rinse once more in cold water before cooking.

Ingredients for Ammoglio d’aglio:

4-6 juicy Roma tomatoes
1 head of fresh garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Italian produced)
Sea Salt (Sicilian would be best)
Oregano or Parsley

Ammoglio d’aglio Preparation:

Peeling the garlic cloves and cut them into small pieces. Using a mortar and pestle to crush them will help release the garlic oil.
Gradually mix 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup olive oil with the pulp.
Chop and crush the tomatoes to release as much of the juice as possible and then add them to the mixture.
Add a few pinches of oregano or parsley for added flavor.
The broth should be fairly chunky (for different recipe applications the mix can be put into the blender and made more paste-like)..

*Taste your recipe with some oven roasted Sicilian bread (a French Baguette will do too).  If you prefer more of zing just add more garlic cloves.

Cooking Directions:

Mix snails with ammoglio d’aglio and bring slowly to a boil.  Lower flame and simmer 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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*I like to use my hands (something I picked up from my father)…but most people use toothpicks to remove the snails from their shells.  Enjoy dipping your bread in the delicious broth as well.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ayngelina August 9, 2012 at 2:57 am

Now this is something I wish I could make, I just need to find some snails.

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Katrina August 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I’m sure you can find some someplace. 🙂 I gotta find some too…shouldn’t be too hard in NYC though.

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Tony March 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I am having trouble removing the membrane coving the hole of the snail. Please help ….craving them,

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Katrina March 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Hi Tony
What you should do is put the snails in a pot of water, and let them soak for a few hours to overnight (if you have some time). You ideally want to cover the pot with something that will keep the snails inside, while still allowing airflow, if you are going to soak them overnight. If you don’t cover the pot you will find that you have to collect them from around your kitchen (this includes on the ceiling and in small crevasses) in the morning. The water will soften the membrane for you to get to the meat. Hope that helps!

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