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Not your garden variety soup

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If snails make you squeamish, turn away now...
Enjoying escargot at the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech
Oops, too late.

Right, if you're still with me, let me tell you this: forget those creepy crawlies in your garden (they don't bite anyway; shame on you!) and imagine a succulent, slightly chewy meat cooked in a flavourful spiced broth and you have snail soup at the famous Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech.

A number of identical stalls sells the soup at the square, with a friendly looking man behind a huge steaming vat. The aroma alone will draw in the crowd. Adventurous eaters will sit down at the few benches around each stall, while curious onlookers will talk among themselves as they wonder if they're game enough to try the delicacy.

The soup comes in 5 or 10 dirham portions (RM1.80-RM3.60; the picture is of the more "expensive" bowl). You poke in a toothpick and spear the snail to fish it out of its shell. Whatever liquid is left in the shell, you tip into your mouth or pour back into the bowl and then after you're done with the meat, you drink up the remaining broth.

Here's a recipe I found online for snail soup. The broth, seasoned with spices like thyme and wild mint, is cooked for a couple of hours and you really can taste all that loveliness.

These gastropod are not cooked like the French escargot, where the snails are boiled, the meat taken out of the shell, cleaned, put back into its shell and cooked with a butter sauce or another way. After the Moroccan snails are cleaned in their shells, they are cooked in the broth and eaten. I'll let you make whatever you want of that bit of information.

Mr NoTime and I ate them two days ago and we're still standing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm game, but the link is dead. Don't suppose you kept the recipe?


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