Snails & bacon in boozy sauce

Snails & bacon in boozy sauce

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Imagine you’re in Paris. It’s spring. The sun is out, a light warm breeze drifts down the Seine and the smell of French cuisine is in the air. You’re feeling adventurous – let’s face it, you’re not in Paris every day. You sip your pinot as you peruse the French menu, searching for familiarity. Escargot catches your eye. You tell yourself, ‘When in Paris!’ So you order a bowl of snails and enjoy the moment.

So why is it that when I eat brown snails from my garden people turn their noses up at the very thought? I’ve never understood it, but it does mean that I benefit from having the snails all to myself. There are some things to know about snails and their edibility. In my backyard there are brown garden snails (Cornu aspersum). They’re one of the edible species but they do need to be prepared correctly before cooking. I catch mine, pop them in a breathable container and feed them fresh lettuce for a week. This will purge any crappy toxins and such, and then they’re okay to eat.

This isn’t really a main meal. It’s more a tapas dish.


Quantity Ingredient
50-60 brown garden snails
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 rashers Cold-smoked bacon, chopped
250ml white wine
handful parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked pimenton
1 chilli, finely chopped
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
50g butter
Dollop thickened cream
crusty bread, to serve


  1. Cook the snails in boiling water for 1 hour, then strain and set aside.
  2. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan over low heat and gently cook the onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cooked snails then splash in the wine.
  3. Add the parsley, pimentón and chilli, and crack over a generous amount of black pepper.
  4. Add the butter and stir through until melted. Add the cream, then cook until the sauce reduces and thickens.
  5. Serve with crusty bread.

Important safety message:

  • Snails need to be purged for a week on clean food such as fresh organic lettuce. They then need to be thoroughly rinsed under cold water before cooking.
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