At my local E-Mart, they’ve been selling sea snails (Golbaeng-i 골뱅이) next to the shrimp. I had looked at them a few times but frequently passed them up. Then one evening, one of the staff had steamed up a bunch and was trying to get shoppers to try it. My impression was that Korean shoppers themselves were a little scared of buying sea snails in their shells. They’re used to the canned variety. Or rather, they’re used to just ordering up a spicy sea snail salad when they’re out drinking, which is some damn fine summer drinking food.
I gingerly selected a toothpick and tried one of the sliced snails. The flavor was intense, like all the good umami flavors you get from the best shellfish and a little livery taste of lobster tamale. I snatched a pack up before swallowing.
I usually eat sea snails as Golbaengi Muchim 골뱅이 무침, which is that salad I mentioned earlier. It’s shredded leeks and white onions with sea snails and a slightly sweet garlicky vinegar and gochujang-based dressing. This time, I wanted to have something akin to what I had when I visited Paris as a teenager. If you have an oven or even a toaster oven, you can pull this off easily.
I laid down some rock salt on a foil-covered baking pan. This helps hold the shells in place.
I made a mixture of softened butter, chopped garlic and some herbs from my mini herb garden. Fresh parsley works fine too.
I rinsed the snails and removed their little “shoes.”
Next was stuffing time. I just jammed healthy chunks of the butter mixture in them and set them on the rock salt, making sure the butter side faced up.
I baked them at 200 degrees Celsius until the butter had melted, which was around ten minutes. I then set them out to cool.
They were amazing! That night I had them with some red snapper that I filleted myself (I’m trying to become more comfortable working with fish), sliced cucumbers and a bright kimchi slaw.
The next day, I bought a garlic baguette and toasted the slices. That was a soothing summer snack, downed with some chilled white wine.
I just love Korean Food. I’m not Korean, but who cares, right?
I prefer eating over cooking.
The photos you took of the sea snails make me want to eat my computer terminal. Darn!
Thanks for letting me visit.
HA! I just love comments like yours.
Caution: Eating your computer terminal is not covered under warranty.
Only you can make snails look appetizing to me. Are these sea snails the same kind you’d get if you order escargot?
A masterpiece, even by your usual high standards. 🙂
Thanks! The snails you order for escargot are much smaller land snails.
Heh, high standards? You must have this confused with another blog. Thank you.
I like snails, but “in the shell” looks intimidating.
This is a really easy recipe and looks delicious.
I’ll have to try it out soon! How much was this batch of snails?
Around 8,000 won
I was never much of a white wine drinker until recently, but for some reason it started tasting better to me this year. Trouble is, I’ve discovered that there ain’t much of a choice in Korea where the whites are concerned. Emart has about 2 choices and Costco isn’t much better. Any recommendations (at a reasonable price, of course)?
One that I found is smooth and dry (at least to me) is… oh, something like Karrikiri. It’s everywhere.