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Wallfish or Mendip Wallfish

Fish - Shellfish

Stewed snails with sauce, most traditionally cider and parsley. This was a speciality of the former Miner's Arms in the village of Priddy in the Mendip Hills. It is not thought to be available commercially any more, but is known to still be prepared locally.

Chef Phil Vickery was one of the proponents of Wallfish
Image: www.bbc.co.uk

Receipt supplied to BBC Somerset by Pat and Bob Reynolds

Mendip Wallfish Recipe
Collect snails, Helix Aspersa, the common brown garden snail. Put into a container in which they can be kept moist and can breathe. Feed them on bran or lettuce or cabbage leaves for 7 to 10 days. This cleanses them. Put in a sieve and dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds to kill them. Take the snails from the shells with a small fork, wash them off and then cook. To cook about a 100 you need a pint of water, pint of cider, a large carrot and an onion cut into pieces. Make sure the snails are covered in liquid. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender for about an hour - it may take a little longer. Rinse in hot water to clean off the bits of vegetables. Meanwhile put the empty shells in a saucepan with salt and water and bring to the boil. Boil for a few minutes then rinse in cold water. Do this 3 times more to make sure the shells are clean. Dry shells in the oven.

Now to the snails.
You will need a pound of butter for 100 snails. If the butter is salty you will have no need to add any more salt to the recipe.
1/2 teaspoon of each of the following, Chervil, Dill, Fennel Seed, Basil, Sage.
1 teaspoon Chives
3 teaspoons Parsley
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper.

You can use dried or fresh herbs for this. Grind up all the herbs together and add them to the butter and mix in well. Take a snail shell, put a little bit of the herb butter into it, then a snail and seal off the shell with more herb butter. To serve, put the snails on a tray and put into a hot oven. When the butter bubbles they are ready to eat. Serve with cubes of bread to mop up the herb butter.

See: Snails

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