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Snails fattened with milk – Roman delicacy

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Snails fattened with milk - Roman delicacy
Snails fattened with milk - Roman delicacy

One of the favourite delicacies of the ancient Romans was snails fattened with milk. Varro or Pliny the Elder mention that rich Romans enjoyed snails from their own farms.

It seems that the first person to start a snail farm was Quintus Fulvius Lippinus in 49 BCE. The Roman began to bring snails from all over the world to his farm. To satisfy the desires of the most demanding customers, he even created special vessels that transported fresh snails from Sardinia, Sicily, Capri, and the Spanish and North African coasts.

An ancient recipe for snails fattened with milk

Will be needed:

  • 6 edible snails per person
  • 2 litres of milk to fat the snails
  • salt
  • 1 small teaspoon of garum (liquamen – fish sauce) – you can use Thai fish sauce instead
  • 1 large tablespoon of wine vinegar

According to the ancient recipe, the snails should be placed on a flat plate filled with milk and salt for the day. Snails like milk, so they drink it, and salt makes the poor creatures more and more thirsty. Then place the animals in a bowl of milk for a few days. In the meantime, remove all snails’ impurities, which are getting so oily overnight that they no longer fit into the shells. Then the fattened snails should be fried in oil, sprinkled with wine vinegar and served with garum (Thai fish sauce).

  • Apicius, De re coquinaria
  • Giuseppe del Buono, The roman snail... and a secret recipe of Gourmet Italiano, "Wall Street International", 24.02.2015

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