Hash of snails

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Snails are braised to perfection, finished in plenty of luxurious garlic butter and paired with crispy capers, fennel and the ultimate French toast mixture in this stunning dish, hailing from The Hind's Head in Bray.

First published in 2018





Infusion herbs

Salt and vinegar pistachios

French toast mixture

Garlic butter

Walnut dressing

Fried capers

To assemble


  • Cooking thermometer
  • Muslin cloth
  • Hand blender


For the snails, preheat the oven to 120°C/gas mark 1/2
Rinse the snails under cold running water for 10 minutes. Place the snails, carrot, leek, onion, celery, fennel, and garlic in pan. Secure the parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and peppercorns in muslin and add to the pan. Add cold water to cover and slowly bring to a boil, skimming off any impurities
Remove the pan from heat, transfer the contents to an ovenproof tray and cover with a cartouche. Cover the tray with foil and braise in the oven for 8 hours. Remove from the oven and discard the foil, leaving the cartouche in place. Allow the braising liquid to cool to 80°C
Create a second muslin parcel filled with the infusion herbs and add to the hot snail mixture. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes, then discard both muslin parcels. Once the braising liquid has completely cooled, strain the snails, discarding the braising liquid and vegetables, reserving only a small amount of braising liquid to cover the snails in an airtight container. Cover and place in the fridge
For the salt and vinegar pistachios, preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
Spread the pistachios out on a roasting tray and lightly toast in the oven. Remove and transfer to large frying pan over a high heat. Stir in the salt and walnut juice and cook until all the juice evaporates. Remove from heat and spread out on a tray lined with parchment paper to cool. Store in an airtight container
Prepare the French toast mixture by whisking all the ingredients together until fully incorporated. Cover and place in the fridge
To make the garlic butter, melt 50g of the butter in a pan over low heat and add the garlic. Cook until the garlic has softened without colouring. Transfer to a deep-sided container and blend to a purée using a hand blender. Add the remaining butter gradually, blending until smooth. Cover and place in the fridge
For the walnut dressing, whisk all the ingredients until fully incorporated. Cover and place in the fridge
To make the fried capers, start by rinsing them under cold running water. Place the capers in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, then drain well. Heat the oil in small saucepan and fry the capers until crisp and starting to open. Spread on a tray lined with kitchen paper. (These should be prepared no more than 2 hours before serving)
To finish the dish, melt the garlic butter in a pan, add the snails and reheat over low heat for 3 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm in the melted butter while you grill the sourdough
Preheat a grill to high. Spoon 25g of the French toast mixture onto each side of each slice of bread, leaving the crusts visible. Grill the bread on both sides until golden brown and crisp. Remove the toasts from under the grill and spread 5g of pistachio paste on each slice. Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives and top with the salt and vinegar pistachios
Remove the snails from the butter and arrange 5 snails on each dressed slice, followed by 5 each of the quartered walnuts, pearl onions, and caper berries. Top with fried capers. Combine the shaved fennel with a dash of walnut dressing in small bowl and arrange on top. Garnish with micro chervil and season with freshly ground black pepper

After training under chefs such as Paul Kitching and Adam Simmonds, Pete Gray now leads the kitchen at Heston Blumenthal’s The Hind’s Head, creating British pub classics with incredible technical precision.

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