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.
2 lb Babaluci (small land snails)
Crusty Italian bread
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.
Mix snails with ammoglio d’aglio and bring slowly to a boil. Lower flame and simmer 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*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.