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.