Friday, June 13, 2008

Scungilli (Snail) Salad


I can already guess that some of you read the title of this post and went "ewww, snails", but have your tried them? Have you eaten a really great snail salad? I'm not sure but snail salad may be a food truly indigenous to Rhode Island. I have never eaten it anywhere else, or seen anyone else but Rhode Islanders prepare it. It's on the menu of almost any Italian restaurant here, and it's a constant at most of my larger gatherings. I'm lucky enough to be friends with the cook who runs our cafeteria at work, so he gets me a great big 5 pound bucket of pre-sliced snails. They are packed in some kind of a weak salad dressing, but I always dump the bucket out and drain it as soon as I get it home, rinse the snails, and make my own salad with it.

Why do we call it Scungilli? Well, cause that's what it really is. Scungilli is any various large marine snail with a thick spiral shell, especially the family Buccinidae. (No I didn't know that I looked it up, that's why God invented Google, so I would sound more intelligent on my blog).

Snail salad is one of my top ten favorite foods of all time, it's right up there with black raspberry ice cream and eggplant for me. I made this batch for Jesse's birthday party tomorrow. It's best to let it sit overnight so all the flavors blend. I don't have a recipe for this either. I just throw ingredients in until I think it look right, then I add balsamic vinegar and a little lemon until it tastes right. It's definitely an 'add and taste as you go' kind of recipe. I'll try and estimate what I used for 5 pounds of it.

Scungilli (Snail) Salad
5 pounds of snails, sliced thin
1 large red onion, sliced thin
1 large can black olives, sliced thin
3 large stalks of celery, sliced thin
3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
fresh parsley & oregano

I grab the biggest bowl I have in the house, add in all the ingredients, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. A few hours before serving I add in some fresh chopped parsley and a little bit of fresh oregano.

My Dad, my brothers and I could eat 5 pounds of this in one sitting. I kid you not. That's how much we all love it. Mom - not so much.

8 comments:

Suzanne said...

The best restaurant snail salads are Tweet Balzano's and Angelo's. Other's are great too but I drove over 400 miles for Tweet's. Honest.

Lisa said...

Suzanne I've been to both places! Wow 400 miles!! That's dedication!

Suzanne said...

I now live in Virginia. I cannot find snail salad anywhere in the region. If I mention snail salad I get funny looks - more like a grimace. Last month my husband and I were in Rhode Island and I insisted we go to Tweet's and I'm happy to say it was great as I remember it being 20 years ago. And I was in snail salad heaven. We also ate very very well on the Hill. Some things, thank goodness, just don't change.

Anonymous said...

I love snail salad. It is one of my favorite foods. I am originally from RI but now live in NYC. Anytime I am in RI, it is a must have. I did find it at Aunt Suzie's Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, but it does not compare to any of the RI restaurants or even the supermarkets.

Anonymous said...

I started working at Stop&Shop in RI in the seafood/meat department
and saw scungilli salad in my case
so i looked it up to get to know the things in my case. i will give
it a try but it does not look that
good.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Wayne, it's an aquired taste. Not everyone likes it. I love them, but lots of people in my family don't. What S&S are you at?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

I was looking for recipes of snail salad in the foodnetwork website, no luck!!!!

I googled "snail salad" and ended up in your blog. Like you said, I guess the rest of the country doesn't know about it... typical RI I guess, hahahahaha

I do not like snail salad but want to try this recipe for my father in law, who loves it.

Eileen said...

I'm from Rhode Island, but Newport. I swear I never heard about "Snail Salad" until I read about it on the net. I go to Tweets for the Linguini with Clams. When I was a kid I used to see families from Fall River (Canooks) collecting periwinkles from the rocks and my father told me they would be eating them. Later on when I studied in Paris, my French friends served me "P├ętoncles" as a treat. I did not know what they were. It wasn't in the dictionary. Sure enough they were periwinkles. Had to dig them out with a pin. I was not happy. Tried to throw them away. I'll have to see if Emeril has a recipe. I'd eat anything he served :-)