Thursday, August 8, 2013

Anna Sultana's Bebbux bl-Arjoli - Land Snails or Seafood with Hot Arjoli Sauce, Maltese Style

Ma's recipe for Bebbux bl-Arjoli is one of my most popular posts.
If you haven't tried it, it's a recipe for Snails with Arjoli Sauce.
Yes, snails.
But it's a very good sauce recipe.

This is a slightly different recipe.
Try both and see which you prefer.

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.
Ah, tradition!

I have never been able to find fresh snails in my local grocery store.
Neither could Ma in College Point, New York during the 1950s or 1960s.
But Arjoli Sauce goes just as well with shrimp, or clams, or mussels.
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.

                        Land Snails with Hot Arjoli Sauce

Wash thoroughly in salted water a few times
4 pounds 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.

Hot Arjoli Sauce

Mix well together
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 hot red pepper, chopped
3 Tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Pour sauce over the cooked snails.

The snails should be served hot with the sauce and any green salad.
They can also be served with hobz biz-zejt (Maltese bread with oil) 
cut into small pieces as an appetizer or first course.

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