Cretan specialty with delicious snails!

The island of Crete is distinguished for many things when compared to other Greek islands… One of those is its heavenly gastronomy. Its locally sourced products, its recipes and its wines are universally recognized and the island is a leading representative of the Mediterranean diet which has been scientifically proven as ideal for achieving longevity and wellness.

Mediterranean diet, photo credits: www.thehmt.com

Counting many days of sunshine throughout the year, Crete is self-sufficient in producing the best products of high nutritional value that yield to very tasty recipes and unique dishes. One of those unique dishes, considered to be a true specialty for the Cretans, is the cooking of snails in many variations according to one’s preference.

Cooked snails, photo credits: cookinginsens.wordpress.com

Snails have been consumed in Greek nutrition since the antiquity. In Crete, several snail varieties are harvested at different periods during the year and yield to countless recipes, mostly casseroles. The Cretans combine snails with fresh vegetables, ample fresh tomato and thinly sliced onion, they make them with artichokes, beans, greens, zucchini or even in soups.

Don’t be surprised if you see Greek moussaka with snails in a menu! And do not miss the opportunity to order the delicacy! Also worthy to taste are the snail stews containing whole onions and plenty of sweet tomato sauce and the stir-fried snails with garlic and rosemary.

Stir fried snails, photo credits: eatgood.gr

No matter which form we decide to enjoy them in, snails are a fabulous source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and sodium as well as a plethora of useful amino acids, vitamins and calcium. Just as beautiful as they look, snails when consumed give amazing health benefits! There are only around 7 calories in one snail but they are surprisingly nutritious and delicious.

We are in the heart of the summer and nothing compares to a fast and easy preparation of a finger-licking delicious snail dish upon return home after a full day at the beach!

Snails risotto, photo credits: recipes.cook13.com

Recipe for snails risotto

Time of preparation: 40 minutes / Cooking: 20 minutes / Recipe below: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Snails: 1kg

Olive oil 1/3 tea cup

Chopped onion: 1 medium

Chopped garlic: 1 clove

Peeled and chopped tomatoes: 4 large ones

2 cups of rice for risotto

Salt and pepper: according to your liking

Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon

photo credits: www.gastroteca.cat

Cooking instructions

Clean the snails yourself or ask your grocer to have them readily cleaned on your behalf in the morning before you leave for the beach! Heat a large pan with the olive oil and wilt the onion. Add the garlic and wilt for just one more mere minute. Chop the tomatoes and add them in the pan plus 1.5 liter of water.

When the mixture starts to boil, add the rice, the snails, plenty of seasoning according to your tastes and the pinch of sugar. Let it simmer by stirring occasionally until the rice is ready. It shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately while the risotto is sizzling hot!

Bon Appétit!