It has been very long since I last did a recipe, but winter in South Africa is always difficult for private chefs and caterers. Clients seem to have lost their appetite for lunch and dinner parties and my service as private chef literally comes to a halt. So when I got this invitation to do a Spring Lunch for some 20 guests, I was outside myself of excitement. However, this one was with a huge surprise. Surprise was when my dear client gave me two huge tins of Fine French “L’Escargot” (snails) and asked me she wants something old school but in a new jacket for a starter. Snails, all I could think of was those terrible garlic snails which they drown sometimes in blue cheese with half-dry piece of commercial brown bread, not tasty and not something I wanted to do. But, my client challenged me and I think me and my sous chef for the day made an incredible starter and hope you will enjoy it as well.
Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 15min| Recipe: Intricate | Serve: 6-8
For the Pasta:
- 1 Pack of Conchiglie (seashell shaped pasta)
- Large Pasta pot filled with water and salt
For the Snails:
- 2 Tins good quality snails, drained and dried with paper towels
- 1kg Light Breadcrumbs
- 10ml Salt
- 5ml Fine Black Pepper
- 5ml Smoked Paprika
- Good Pinch of Nutmeg
- 3 Beaten eggs
- Oil for Deep Frying
For the Dolce Latte Crème Anglaise:
- 3 Eggs
- 300ml Full cream Milk
- 100g Dolce Latte Gorgonzola
- 50g Butter
For the Black Garlic Butter:
- 20-30 Black Garlic Cloves, crushed or finely minced
- Good bunch of Italian Parsley, finely chopped
- 150g Butter
- Pinch of salt
- Pea Shoots
- Fresh Italian Parsley
Start by making the Black Garlic Butter as it can stand and wait. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat, add the garlic, salt and parsley, cook for 1 minute, remove from heat and set aside.
For Pasta: Put water and salt on high heat and bring to the boil. Boil the pasta while making the Crème Anglaise until they are al denté.
Dolce Late Crème Anglaise: Beat the eggs and add the milk. Pour in a sauce pan and cook over low heat until the custard starts to thicken, add the Dolce Latte Gorgonzola and beat continuously until all the cheese has melt and a smooth custard has formed. Take off the heat and add the butter, this will ensure a silky sheen to the custard. Keep warm and set aside.
For the snails: Mix the breadcrumbs with the salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Break the eggs in a bowl, beat them ann heat your oil until 130°C. You have to be quick and will most probably need some help. Roll the snails in the egg, then in the crumbs until fully coated and into the hot oil. You’ll fry them only about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crisp on the outside, drain on paper towels.
- Place a big spoonful of the crème anglaise in the middle of the plate and spread with the back of the spoon.
- Position two Conchiglie in the middle of the crème anglaise.
- Arrange 6-8 snails, pea shoots and parsley around the Conchiglie.
- Drizzle some of the Black Garlic Butter around and serve immediately.