Serves 6 to 8.
There is a small membrane, known as an operculum, at the opening of each snail. Use a toothpick to remove this membrane and it will come off easily.
Place the snails in a basin and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Drain and rinse once more in cold water that contains a generous amount of salt. Rinse once more in cold water before cooking.
Add four quarts of cold water to a kettle and add the snails and about three tablespoons salt. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer six minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place the garlic and one teaspoon of salt in a small, heavy bowl. Crush the garlic with a pestle or the back of a heavy spoon to make a paste. Add the oil, pepper (to taste), lemon juice, and six tablespoons cold water. Stir with a whisk to blend.
Drain the snails and serve hot with the sauce cold. Note: To eat the snails, pull out the meat with a pick and dip them one at a time in the sauce. The whole snail may be eaten, although the most fastidious prefer to skip the soft after end of the meat, which is the digestive tract.
[From "The New York Times International Cookbook. "]