Romas Foord
Hash of Snails, adapted from Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal.
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Hash of Snails

Historic Heston, Heston Blumenthal - December 15th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

Makes 6 portions

Snails:

  • 30 uncooked snails
  • 15g carrot, peeled and diced
  • 15g leek, rinsed and chopped
  • 25g onion, peeled and diced
  • 10g celery, rinsed and chopped
  • 10g fennel, chopped
  • 2g garlic, peeled
  • 3g flat-leaf parsley
  • 2g thyme
  • 2g rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2g black peppercorns

Herb infusion:

  • 3g flat-leaf parsley
  • 2g thyme
  • 2g rosemary
  1. Heat oven to 250˚F/120˚C.

  2. Rinse snails under cold running water 10 minutes; place snails, carrot, leek, onion, celery, fennel, and garlic in saucepan; make secure muslin parcel with parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and peppercorns; place in saucepan; add cold water to cover; slowly bring to a boil, skimming off scum; remove saucepan from heat; transfer contents to ovenproof dish; make cartouche and cover mixture with it; cover dish with foil; braise in oven 8 hours; when snails are cooked through, remove dish from oven; remove foil, leaving cartouche; cool snails to 176˚F/80˚C;

  3. Create second muslin parcel filled with infusion herbs; add to cooled snail mixture; infuse 30 minutes; remove, discarding both muslin parcels.

  4. Strain snails when fully cooled, reserving small amount of liquid; cover snails and reserved liquid in airtight container; reserve in refrigerator.

Salt-and-vinegar pistachios:

  • 100g pistachios, peeled
  • 5g salt
  • 15ml pickled walnut juice (from a jar of pickled walnuts)
  1. Heat oven to 340˚F/170˚C.

  2. Spread pistachios on roasting tray; lightly toast in oven; remove; transfer to large frying pan over high heat, ensuring they are spread out evenly; stir nuts so they release their oils; add salt and juice; cook until juice evaporates; remove from heat; cool on tray lined with parchment; reserve in covered airtight container.

French toast mixture:

  • 125ml whole milk
  • 65g pasteurized egg white
  • 30g pasteurized egg yolk
  • 2g salt
  • 15g English mustard
  • 10ml undistilled malt vinegar

Whisk all ingredients until fully incorporated; reserve in refrigerator.

Garlic butter:

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 30g garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

Melt 50g butter in saucepan over low heat; add garlic; cook without allowing to color, until soft; transfer to deep sided container; puree using handheld blender, adding remaining butter gradually; blend until smooth; reserve in refrigerator.

Walnut dressing:

  • 5g Dijon mustard
  • 75ml grapeseed oil
  • 40ml walnut vinegar

Whisk all ingredients until fully incorporated; reserve in refrigerator.

Fried capers:

  • 50g salted capers
  • 250ml grapeseed oil

Rinse capers under cold running water; soak in small bowl of cold water 10 minutes; drain; heat oil in small saucepan; fry capers until crisp and starting to open; drain; reserve.

Note: These should be prepared no more than 2 hours before using.

Garlic snails:

  • salt
  1. Heat water bath to 180˚F/82˚C.

  2. Melt 150g garlic butter in a pan; add 30 snails; cook over low heat 3 minutes; season; reserve (keep warm in melted butter).

Assembly:

  • 125g fennel, finely shaved
  • 6 slices white sourdough bread, sliced 1cm thick
  • 30g pistachio paste
  • 6g chives, finely chopped
  • 8 pickled walnuts, cut into quarters
  • 8 pickled pearl onions, cut into quarters
  • 8 caper berries, cut into quarters
  • micro parsley and micro fennel fronds
  • cracked black pepper
  1. Heat oven to grill setting.

  2. Combine shaved fennel and dash of walnut dressing in small bowl; reserve.

  3. Spoon 25g French toast mixture onto each slice of bread, leaving crusts visible; grill bread on both sides until golden brown and crisp; remove toasts from under grill; spread 5g pistachio paste on 1 side of each slice; sprinkle chives over pistachio paste, followed by 10g salt-and-vinegar pistachios.

  4. Remove snails from butter; arrange 5 snails on each dressed slice, followed by 5 each of the quartered walnuts, pearl onions, and caper berries; top with fried capers; arrange shaved fennel on top; garnish with micro herbs; season with cracked black pepper.

Copyright 2013 Heston Blumenthal. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.