The Patron Saint of
Palermo is Saint Rosalie. From July 13th to July 15th,.the Saint is celebrated with a
festival called Il Festino, la Grande Festa. For the duration of the
Festino, in the street of Palermo, you can smell the odor of wild fennel, and in fact, pasta with sardines and
fennel is rigorously prepared in every household, including babaluci,
During the Festino, it is customary to take walks at Foro Italico, also known as
la Marina, a vast area by
the sea, where a big and spectacular firework show is displayed
and, for the occasion, a large number of kiosks are built where
street vendors display and sell their merchandise and food.
Along with all the characteristic street food,
babaluci, snails are offered and consumed in large quantities.
Babaluci are sold in little dishes and eaten while walking
The babaluci are favorites not only for the intense taste and for the strong
flavor of garlic and parsley but also because they are inseparably associated with the Festino.
Snails are cooked all
over Sicily, most of the time with simple recipes: garlic and oil
or with the addition of tomato sauce.
Stand selling live
snails cannot be imported into the United States for human
frozen or otherwise processed snails may be
for this purpose. Find details at:
USDA - APHIS - Plant Health, Plant Protection and
Cooking the Snails
Serves 4 to
2 lb live
Few slices of
Preparation of the Snails
Place snails in a colander and briefly rinse
under running water. Drain for a few minutes. Then, place the snails in a cardboard box with a few slices of
barely soaked bread in water. Cover with
a rag or with a piece of cheese cloth, tied all around so that the snails will not escape but can still get
Keep in the box for 4 days; sprinkle
the snails with ¼ cup of water every day.
After 4 days, rinse the snails in
running water a few times. Then, make a solution of cold water, a few tablespoons of vinegar and salt and place
the snails into it, turning occasionally. The water will make whitish foam. Remove snails with a slotted spoon,
discard the water and repeat the process until the water does not produce foam.
Place the snails in a pot with cover
and mix with coarse salt to make them expel any impurities; cover and put a weight on top of the cover so the
snails will not escape.
After 30 minutes, rinse them
thoroughly with running water. The snails are ready to be boiled.
Place the snails and the laurel leaf into a heavy
pot, cover with enough lightly salted cold water, about 1 inch above the snails, and cook covered at low
heat. When the snails start to come out of their shells, increase the heat to high and boil the snails for 20
Remove the snails with a slotted spoon and
briefly rinse. Now, they are ready to be used in your preferred recipe.
To prepare Babaluci Palermo Style, the following ingredients are
1 portion of
boiled snails (2 lb)
garlic, finely chopped
pepper to taste
Pour the oil in a large pot, lightly fry the garlic and parsley, add the snails and
salt and pepper to taste; sauté a few minutes mixing occasionally. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To prepare “Babaluci Pic-Pac” the following ingredients are needed:
1 portion of boiled snails (2
tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium
- 2 cloves of
garlic slightly crushed
- 1 cup of
- A pinch of
Salt and pepper to taste
Few leaves of basil for
At a high heat, in a large saucepan, place the
onions and oil and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium; add the garlic and sauté
until the onions are golden, stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and bring
to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Combine the snails with the sauce and cook for an
additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place babaluci in a serving dish, garnish with basil and serve warm or at room
To prepare Babaluci Salad, the following ingredients are
1 portion of boiled snails (2
tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic,
- 3 tablespoons
- Bunch of parsley,
- Salt and pepper to
Drain the snails well and
place in a serving dish; add the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, parsley and salt and pepper to taste and mix all
the ingredients thoroughly. Let rest for 1 hour to marinate. Serve at room temperature.