“Petit gris », the French name for garden snail, land snail, or Cornu aspersum, previously classified as Helix aspersa, is a snail subgenus very widespread across the French Atlantic coast. It has become a symbol for people of the Charentes region who affectionately call it “cagouille” (French for “hooded”) and who rank top in France for producing it. Chef Verrat invites us to discover a recipe here which blends modernity and flagship products from his native region.
Ingredients for 4 people
1 kg snails
0.8 kg wild nettle tips
0.3 kg Charentes butter
1 bouquet garni
1 branch of wild fennel
1 spoonful of goose fat
Wash the snails, cook them for 90 minutes in the court bouillon (5 l water, the bouquet garni, wild fennel, salt, pepper).
Remove the flesh from the shells and fry them gently for 5 min in the goose fat.
Cook the nettles for 4 min in boiling water, drain them then put them through the blender and then sieve.
Dilute the nettle purée with the snail cooking juice then whisk in the butter.
Serve the snails hot in a dish then drizzle the nettle soup over them.
This ‘custodian’ of French culinary heritage, who has been at the helm of the Ribaudière* Restaurant in Bourg Charente for 23 years, seeks to promote, in his cuisine, the wealth of local products which he grew up with whilst enhancing them with a touch of modernity and creativity.