Posts Tagged ‘Italian snails’

Lumache di Mare – Sea Snails in Italian Sauce

August 2, 2009


Escargot is not for everyone but lumache made with sea snails is a gourmand’s delight. This Italian dish is marvelous made with canned snails which are a garden variety and have an earthy flavor. The sea snail is larger than a whelk, more meaty and similar in flavor to a whelk or conch. If you’re lucky enough to live where sea snails obode, its well worth the effort to clean and pressure cook these beauties for lumache di mare.

To prepare 50 sea snails, rinse and scrub the shells under cold water. Place snails in a pan with 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup vinegar and water to cover. The snails will belch out any sand. Drain and repeat until water is clear. Cover with boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Drain and cool. The snails’ doors will have opened so you need only give the shell a shake to remove the snail. Remove stomachs and trim tough filament surrounding dark side of snail. Place the snail meat in a pressure cooker, add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup white wine. Cook for 30 minutes under pressure. Remove from heat, allow pressure to dissapate completely, open pot and remove snails. Snails may now be cooked or frozen for future use.

The tomato sauce for this lumache di mare is robust with garlic, red chile, anchovies, fresh sage and rosemary. Serve lumache for lunch in a rustic bread bowl along with a Caesar’s salad and a glass of wine. Lumache also makes marvelous tapas.


  • 50 snails (2 cans imported escargot snails)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1 Tbsp anchovies
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 can (28oz) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, reserve liquid
  • 3-1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3-1/2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • dash or two of Tabasco


  1. Saute garlic and chile in oil, add anchovy and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Add wine and reduce for 5 more minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and reserved liquid, simmer 45 minutes.
  4. Add rosemary, sage and snails last 5 minutes.
  5. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste with a dash of Tabasco.
  6. Serve 9-12 snails per person in rustic bread bowls.

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