A recipe from my #1 Amazon bestseller The Great Mediterranean Comfort Food Tour
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HOHLI BOURBOURISTI / SNAILS IN ROSEMARY
Yannis, proprietor of Perperas, Chania, Crete
Snails are everyday fare in Crete, the local equivalent of American burgers or British fish and chips. During the 40-day Lenten fast, when people are expected to refrain from eating meat, fish, even dairy, it’s OK to consume snails and shellfish; they’re exempt on the technicality of not having a backbone. It's customary to eat snails on Holy Thursday, which is when Yannis very kindly agreed to let me come into his kitchen and watch how he made hohli bourbouristi.
Rinse 30 large, clean snails in water, then dust them with a third of a cup of flour.
Pour a quarter of a cup of olive oil into a frying pan and set it on the burner.
As the oil warms, press the fleshy foot of each snail into salt then set it in the pan. “They go in ‘face down,’ as we say,” Yannis told me. “The name bourbouristi comes from the Cretan abouboura, which means ‘face down.’”
When the snails are sizzling, pull leaves off of two sprigs fresh rosemary and sprinkle them on top, adding a pinch of pepper.
Pour half a cup of strong red wine vinegar over everything, and let it cook for about three minutes until the liquid reduced to a thick sauce. Serve at once.
For more details, see my post Holy Snail Day and watch the video below.