Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wanted: Banana Slug Recipes

I've been corresponding with a gal supposedly from a TV network that has a show where they have three Japanese folks traveling around trying weird foods. She wants to do a show on banana slugs. Anyone know of any recipes for banana slugs or any local places to dine on them? Seriously.

There used to be a Russian River banana slug festival but I don't know that they do that anymore. Thought there was one somewhere else...maybe Crescent City, but can't find anything on that one. Anyway, any suggestions can be posted in the comments. Here's her last note to me.

Addendum: She directed me to this Youtube video of the three gals that would be doing the show:

"Hello Fred,

So, our producers in Tokyo really like the idea of slug cuisine. Can
you recommend any restaurants in your area or around Santa Rosa that
might help us prepare some banana slug delicacies?

Thanks for your kind assistance."




At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, we used to cover them in salt and turn them into jerky. Mind you, no one ate them...

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Fred, I have seen an old-timer recipe for them. I do know that you have to remove their "shell". I'm not kidding, they have a vestigial dormant shell under their hood.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Dear Brian and Tom,
In the late 1970s and early 1980s I ate slugs. As far as I know, none
of the land slugs are poisonous. However, the digestive gland (which
occupies about the posterior third) of at least some of the species is
foul tasting, so I advise removing it before consumption. It is
relatively easy to remove after cooking by making a longitudinal slit in
the tail, and peeling the skin back, then either pulling off or cutting
off the dark-colored digestive gland.
I recall that Arion rufus in the Pacific Northwest had a foul-tasting
digestive gland. My recollection is that the digestive gland of Arion
subfuscus in Michigan was not as foul tasting. I shared a banana slug
(Ariolimax columbianus) with someone in Washington, so I don't know if I
got the digestive gland or not, but I don't recall any foul flavor - but
I did get the crunchy shell. I have also had Deroceras spp and Limax
maximus, and don't recall any foul flavor.
It is a VERY good idea to cook land mollusks before eating them, as
they are good vectors for human parasites. Cooking them will kill the
parasites. The people on reality TV shows who eat live slugs are taking
chances with their own health.
Slugs tend to have more slime than snails (probably defensive, since
slugs can't hide in a shell). An easy way to remove the slime before
cooking is to put the live slugs into 50% vinegar 50% water. The
solution is fatal to the slugs in a few minutes, and in the process,
they exude most of their slime. Also, when you are boiling them, change
the water after a minute or two to remove further slime. One recipe
advocates adding a bay leaf to the cooking water to improve the smell.
After they are cooked (and the digestive gland removed, if necessary),
you can use the slugs as you would clams (e.g., slug chowder); be
While I am mostly a vegetarian, I advocate eating of pest slugs.
Eating slugs from the garden is biological control, with humans being
the predator! Slugs are like escargots with the shell already removed!By
eating slugs, we can turn pests into something desirable.

Tim Pearce
Asst Curator and Head, section of Mollusks
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By eating slugs, we can turn pests into something desirable."

To my way of thinking, slugs are more beautiful as slow and slimy kinetic sculptures than as cuisine.

Inserting slugs into a human body makes no sense to me whether attempted from the top or the bottom.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Santa Cruz is the place to go for eating slugs.

I also heard or read that the Indians fed them acorn meal prior to eating them. I assume corn meal would work.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They race them at Prarie Creel Park

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Back during the mascot battle at UCSC, a bio grad student suggested that they be chopped up into bite sized pieces and lightly grilled with a bit of garlic, butter, and some herbs - which I think is pretty standard es cargot fare.

He also tried to calm fears that the switch of the mascot from sea lion to slug wouldn't compromise the masculine image of the men's sports teams (of all the sports teams, all supported the slug with two exceptions - the mens basketball and tennis teams) as the male organ of the slug is actually longer than the animal itself when fully extended.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Fred,
We did it! We filmed our three ladies dining on slugs at the Rio Nido Roadhouse near Guerneville. It was a hit! The chef Michael fried them up and the restaurant offered free beers to people who brought slugs in. One Japanese lady really liked the first half of her fried slug...
Thanks again for your help. If it gets put on youtube I'll let you know. Nancye

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the recipe from, 'A Taste of Humboldt', An Historical and Ethnic Cookbook of Humboldt County, California. Copyright 1987, YES Humboldt State University

Banana Slugs Sauteed

12 large banana slugs
White vinegar

Drop the banana slugs into a container of white vinegar for about 1 hour. This both kills them and congeals their slime. Use plenty of running water to rinse the slime and vinegar off their bodies. Gut and clean them as you would a fish. Then, using your thumbnail, pop out the small hidden shell from the head area. The shell will be about the thickness of a fingernail and about the size of a dime.

Cut the slugs into bite-sized or smaller pieces and saute in butter. Serve over rice. They would go well in sushi.

The cookbook says Alex Jackson happened on the recipe in the HSU library. The understanding is the recipe was used by the early German settlers of Humbolt County.


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