Snails “à la pied-noir”


Courtesy of The Courier Mail

 Pied-noir (meaning black feet) refers to the French people who used to live in North Africa until the early 60’s. The region was a melting pot of North African, French, Jewish, Spanish and Italian influences and truly developed its own cuisine full of rich Mediterranean flavours.

So, rather than the traditional garlic-butter sauce, we are presenting here a delicious tomato sauce-based recipe, showing that Escargots can actually accommodate a whole range of flavours.

Ingredients (make 24 snails/4 people)

Jar or tin of 24 snails
24 snail shells
80ml of white wine
1-2 tbsp olive oil
½ an onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
2 bay leaves
a little parsley to decorate each snail
2 tsps flour
1 tsp cumin
Couple sprigs of thyme
100g finely diced bacon
2-3 large tomatoes, finely diced or a 250g tin of pureed tomatoes
30g almond slivers lightly roasted
Chilli (Espelette is best, Tabasco will do)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large fry pan, cooked the bacon, onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden, then add the white wine.
  2. Once it's boiling again, add the bay leaves, tomato puree, almonds, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper and maintain to simmer for at least 15 min but ideally 30-45min. If required, keep adding a little bit of water to keep the sauce a little runny.
  3. Add the pre-cooked snails to the sauce and simmer for 5-10 min and add a little hot chilli to taste.
  4. With a teaspoon, carefully add a little sauce into each shell and then a snail with more sauce.
  5. Present on a plate with a bit more sauce in the centre and accompanied with a slice of baguette and a glass of light red, rose or white wine.