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Old 01-30-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
'o Cino
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How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

After being asked a lot about Turban Snails (the Wavy Tops that are shaped like a pyrimid or cone if you will), and how to prep and cook them, here's a quick reference for those who would like to brave the attempt.

There's lot's of ways of cooking them, so I'll stick with the prep.

Get a bunch of snails, the baseball/softball size are best. Smaller one's aren't worth the effort.


Line 'em up, and whack it sharply with a hammer where my finger is pointing. The shell will split easy.


The entire foot will be exposed. If you cut it off now, it's super easy. If you batch them, the foot will try to retract into the remaining shell.


A fillet knife, routed around the shell opening will cut loose the foot/body, and it'll just drop out, and the guts will be left behind.


Cut off the operculum


Trim the black part off the foot, and cut it in half down the mid-line, this exposes the esophagus and proximal gut tract.


V-cut out the esophagus, and scrape the gut


Rinse the pieces, and freeze for a couple days to tenderize. Whack with a meat mallet to flatten prior to cooking, or chunk cut it for stew/soup.


Enjoy the treat, before someone snatches it from you!


The entire prep takes only about 3 minutes when you get some practice.
Cheers! And thanks for putting up with a long post
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:38 PM   #2
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Awesome post dude! I've always seen these guys in the water around catalina vbut have never even thought about eating one. I'll have to try this sometime
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

That's awesome! Last fall a panguero in Turtle Bay gave us some canned turban snails as a farewell gift. We tried them and liked them, but I couldn't figure out why the chunks had that shape. Now I know.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:03 AM   #4
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Hey,

Couldn't you get the critter out of the shell the same way they do the conches in the tropics, tie a small line or thread around the operc. and hang them. Supposedly they can't hold their own weight for very long and finally just let go and and come right out of the shell completely. Of course, bashing them w/ a hammer sounds fun too

Scotty
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:30 AM   #5
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomol View Post
That's awesome! Last fall a panguero in Turtle Bay gave us some canned turban snails as a farewell gift. We tried them and liked them, but I couldn't figure out why the chunks had that shape. Now I know.
Supposedly, they export more of those turban snails from Turtle bay than anywhere else in the world. I've gotten a few cans as gifts, but think they taste so bad I just give them to my asian friends at home. They seem to love them (and anything else from mother ocean)

The pangeros down there tell me that's what they use to bait their lobster traps as well.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:59 AM   #6
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

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Originally Posted by Scottywotty View Post
Hey,

Couldn't you get the critter out of the shell the same way they do the conches in the tropics, tie a small line or thread around the operc. and hang them. Supposedly they can't hold their own weight for very long and finally just let go and and come right out of the shell completely. Of course, bashing them w/ a hammer sounds fun too

Scotty
Thanks for the kind comments

Good point Scotty I'm pretty sure it would work. I tried doing that last year, but a grouchy neighbor was going to call the BOD on me for hanging them from the front tree.

I also tried drilling a hole, like they do in FLA with conchs. Just goofed up the drillbit, and sprayed a mess.

The hammering brings the nice neighbors out, just like ringing a dinner bell!
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

I am going to try 'Turban' Snails.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

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Good point Scotty I'm pretty sure it would work. I tried doing that last year, but a grouchy neighbor was going to call the BOD on me for hanging them from the front tree.
That's what I did with triton's trumpets in Okinawa, but of course I was trying to preserve the shells. Your way is faster if you don't care about the shell.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottywotty View Post
Hey,

Couldn't you get the critter out of the shell the same way they do the conches in the tropics, tie a small line or thread around the operc. and hang them. Supposedly they can't hold their own weight for very long and finally just let go and and come right out of the shell completely. Of course, bashing them w/ a hammer sounds fun too

Scotty
The way I heard it is you suspend the critter over water and they will come out of the shell and stretch to reach the water after a day or so they will be about 12 inches out of the shell like in Bill's photo then you grab them fast and pull out.

I have attempted this three or four times you are able to get all the meat you want to eat out no problem but the guts stay in. The shell is not damaged but it takes forever to soak and clean them out so they do not smell.

I have used the same method on cowlries (sp)

The turbin snail shells look very nice if you remove all the stuff from them.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:52 PM   #10
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Nice one...
Thanks
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:10 PM   #11
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

I know they sell these at the Dory Fleet Fish Market in Newport on the weekends. Supposedly they are becoming very, very popular - now I know why. They look good...
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:03 PM   #12
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

Quote:
Originally Posted by 'o Cino View Post
After being asked a lot about Turban Snails (the Wavy Tops that are shaped like a pyrimid or cone if you will), and how to prep and cook them, here's a quick reference for those who would like to brave the attempt.

There's lot's of ways of cooking them, so I'll stick with the prep.

Get a bunch of snails, the baseball/softball size are best. Smaller one's aren't worth the effort.


Line 'em up, and whack it sharply with a hammer where my finger is pointing. The shell will split easy.


The entire foot will be exposed. If you cut it off now, it's super easy. If you batch them, the foot will try to retract into the remaining shell.


A fillet knife, routed around the shell opening will cut loose the foot/body, and it'll just drop out, and the guts will be left behind.


Cut off the operculum


Trim the black part off the foot, and cut it in half down the mid-line, this exposes the esophagus and proximal gut tract.


V-cut out the esophagus, and scrape the gut


Rinse the pieces, and freeze for a couple days to tenderize. Whack with a meat mallet to flatten prior to cooking, or chunk cut it for stew/soup.


Enjoy the treat, before someone snatches it from you!


The entire prep takes only about 3 minutes when you get some practice.
Cheers! And thanks for putting up with a long post
So how did you cook them?
Thanks for the post. I went beach combing the other day and found 3 big ones still alive. I wanted to try eating them and the operculums were beautiful too so I kept them. I smashed mine out with a hammer too but I did not use your method, I wish I did. I cleaned them as you did and then put them in the fridg for a day. The next day they just were so hard I did not know what to do with them so I put them in the freezer to use as fish bait. Now I read your post and want to cook them but you did not mention how you cooked yours. I was thinking about old school abalone style, tenderize, soak in eggs and then dip in ritz crumbs and fry in butter for a minute.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:53 PM   #13
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

There's a bunch of ways to cook these tasty morsels. If you have a fav abalone technique, I'm sure it'll work great.

The trick is to flatten them a bit, without going nuts and bashing dimples into your wood chopping block

My wife really likes them, simple and flavorful, so it's lightly sauteed in butter with a bit of garlic minced in. Moderate heat, and about 45-60 secs per side. ***If the heat is too high or it's overcooked, the only thing they're good for is tip protectors on the gun.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:57 AM   #14
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

'o Cino,
Nice post and good pics,
you can also put them in boiling water shell and all and then just pull them out with a fork or a pick. Like escargo, they taste great dipped in garlic butter.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: How To: Wavy Top 'Turban' Snails

thanks for that incerdibly informative thread.. I am very jealous of you west coasters and all these tasty mollusks you have to harvest and feast on...our conchs are protected and we have no Abs

very cool to learn about the anatomy like that.

the dog is too much as well, love the avatar pics always, but she's too cute
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