This Monday is called "Civic Holiday".
I'm not kidding.
Summers are short here and we can always use another long weekend.
Malta has quite a few festas and holidays on its calendar.
It's an awfully good idea.
And it's traditional.
No way would a parish give up the chance to celebrate its patron saint.
And the tourists love festas.
No way would the Maltese want to disappoint them.
Bebbux bl-Arjoli means Snails with Arjoli Sauce.
In Malta snails are collected after the first Autumn rains in mid-October.
Then the snails are starved before being cooked.
This is done by keeping them in a pot for a few days.
No, I can't find fresh snails in my local grocery store, either.
Neither could Ma.
But this is a nice simple sauce and it goes just as well with shrimp.
And shrimp, clams and mussels are easier to prepare.
Shrimp is also sold pre-cooked.
I'll give the instructions for preparing snails.
If you're using one of the other three, or something else, well, I trust you to know what to do.
Wash thoroughly in salted water a few times
1 pound snails
In a medium pot of salted boiling water add the snails.
Simmer until the snails are cooked.
Test if the snails are cooked by trying to remove the snail from the shell.
If cooked, the flesh comes away easily.
Drain and remove each snail from its shell.
Place on a large platter.
Mix well together
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup chopped parsley
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Pour sauce over the cooked snails.
This can be served with hobz biz-zejt (crusty bread with oil) cut into small pieces as an appetizer or first course.