The small sea snails, represent a very tasty typical dishe common in all the Adriatic Coast. In the old days, when people lived in poverty but there were plenty of this shellfish, they used to be eaten as a second course, dipping a lot of bread in the sauce. Nowadays, the small snails are served in fish restaurants as a starter.
1 kg of small sea snails,
4 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil,
1 sprig of wild fennel,
a touch of red chilli pepper,
1 glass of dry white wine,
1/2 stock cube,
1/2 lemon zest,
2 generous tbsp. of tomato purée,
4 garlic cloves.
Rinse the sea snails many times, then put them in a large baking tin, pouring while still cold the oil, the stock cube, the tomato purée, the wild fennel, the lemon zest, the whole garlic cloves and the red chilli pepper. Cover the snails in water, up to two fingers above their level. Leave the snails to simmer, covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Half an hour before the end of simmer, adjust the flavour with a little cooking salt, adding a little water if it has dried out. Once cooking is complete, the water shall have evaporated but shall not have dried out, so that the bread can be dipped in the sauce. Sprinkle a little fresh black pepper and serve with canapés, toasted separately, and toothpicks to pull out the meat of the shellfish.