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Mar 21, 2014 03:36 PM

Frozen Pre-Shelled Snails?

So. I got these frozen pre-shelled pre-cooked snails at an Asian market near me since I've tried and liked snails before and they were something I wouldn't be able to get elsewhere. However, they've been sitting in my freezer for awhile now. Being a generally adventurous eater, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I've started to psych myself out about eating them. Has anyone ever purchased snails sold this way? Did you enjoy them?

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  1. I have not, personally, since part of the fun for me is trying to get those lil buggers out of their shell.... that said, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to thaw and toss in lots of melted, garlicky butter & achieve something similar to escargots, but without the picking.

    Come on, Gastro -- DO it. You know you wanna.

    And let us know about your results. If you live to tell the story '-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      I know, I know...I think what's freaked me out was a sort of not that great experience I had with frozen squid I bought from the same place. I guess worse case scenario I don't like them and end up tossing them though, huh?

      1. re: gastronomics

        Yeah, tossing food sucks, generally. But you'll never know until you try....

    2. I never purchased frozen snails like this. I've made "escargots" with canned snails with no shells, just drain and broil with garlic butter.

      Howsabout a chinesy prep, maybe in black bean sauce?

      1. They are 'slippery' and a bit chewy. I've eaten them many times but still prefer whelks.

        There are several Vietnamese dishes using these snails. One I like is slowly cooked in coconut milk, lemongrass, lots of garlic and shallot and chilis. Another time in Macau I had them in a clay pot and that was very nice as well. The dipping sauce was a kind of shrimp paste called 'Balichão', a brilliant and essential ingredient in some south east Asian dishes.

        This was in Changsha, China, with shell in tact.

        1. I like them simmered in teriyaki

          1. So, update - Since they were pre-cooked, I let the snails thaw slowly, rinsed them then left them until everything I wanted around them was cooked. I started with a mixture of butter and between and 1/2 and full cup of leftover blush wine, then added 2 minced cloves of elephant garlic and a cup and half cherry tomatoes sliced down the middle, plus salt and smoked paprika and a little Parmesan. Once that had created a nice sauce I added a bunch of fresh chopped spinach, only adding the rinsed snails to the pan once that had wilted, intending just to warm them. I took them off once warm - just a minute or so. Drizzle of olive oil. Voila!

            The result? Really yummy broth and greens - tough as leather snails. :/ I was suspecious when they were already so tough just after thawing, but suspended my doubts until after I had tried warming them. I barely managed to rip my teeth through one and what I ate, as you might imagine, wasn't pleasant. Pretty disappointing, but I managed to save the meal pulling out the little bullets and swapping in canned white beans instead. Now I know better than to try these particular snails again!

            3 Replies
            1. re: gastronomics

              Simmer in teriyaki for 30-45 minutes, add some chili flakes if you like spicy. Cook them until they get a rubber band texture, they start off tough as leather, probably get tougher, then soften.

              My father used to tell his friends/relatives it was rattlesnake meat. Then after they ate some, he let them know they were periwinkles.

              1. re: Alan408

                Yeah, my boyfriend later suggested the same thing. It made sense to me that since they were pre-cooked, they had been cooked to perfection prior to freezing and my only task would be not screwing them up. You're both probably right though, they probably needed more time.

                1. re: Alan408

                  From the OP packaging, I think the critters are land snails.