(Image From Almost Italian)
As a lowly webmaster, I make no claim to deep knowledge of Italian food. Last year at the DiGioia Christmas Eve, I was given the job of cutting up the octopus, which up until today, I thought was called scungilli. I was wrong. Scungilli are conches. You know, like, snails. From Almost Italian:
Scungilli, very large marine snails, are firmly fixed in Italian-American cuisine—whether served chilled in an insalata di mare or hot in a marinara sauce. The cold-water species, Busycotypus canaliculatus, channeled whelk, is the one most commonly gathered in New England by those who still bother to fuss with the snails’ labor-intensive preparation. Their meat is dense, chewy, and quite sweet. Larger Italian grocery stores may stock frozen scungilli and most carry tins of “conch”—though the latter are usually different species, from warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and South Asia.
Although they are not as popular today as calamare, or even octopus and eel, scungilli would be one of the dishes a skilled nonna might prepare for a holiday spread, especially for the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.
I don’t know if I have ever had scungilli before. I should try it. Apparently, you can get them on Elmhurst Avenue, according to Giuseppe, who like Paula’s grandma, calls sauce “gravy.”