The word for snail in Italian is ‘lumaca’ … and the large snails I found at the fishmonger’s are called ‘lumaconi’, i.e. ‘big snails’. The advantage that lumaconi have over snails that hail from the earth is that they do not need to be soaked and washed over and over again. I thought these sea snails looked so pretty that I placed them on a silver platter for this photo.
The fishmonger told me that another name for lumaconi is “Santa Lucia” … Saint Lucia is the patron saint of eyesight and if one picks up one of the sea-snails and takes a closer look … it does indeed bear a resemblance to an eye. I had never cooked these snails before so I asked the fishmonger for some advice and the recipe seemed easy enough. Nothing ventured, nothing tried and all that …
The fishmonger said to simmer them in plenty of water for about 15 minutes.
While the lumaconi were simmering, I got started on making a tomato sauce (‘sugo’). Garlic, oil and tomatoes.
Once the garlic turned golden, I added the tomoatoes and a little spring of marjoram.
I drained the lumaconi directly into the sugo I was preparing.
I realised that my frying pan wasn’t going to be big enough … so I threw out the cooking water and transferred the snails and the sugo back into the more capacious casserole.
I covered the casserole, turned the heat down and cooked the lumaconi for another 15 minutes.
And here is the end result, ready to be eaten. Some toothpicks to pry out the snails, some crusty bread to mop up the sauce: what an interesting and delicious addition to my range of fish antipasti.
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