Today we’re diving into a classic dish that has graced the French dining scene for centuries – escargot, or as we call it in English, snails.
While this French cuisine recipe has become a specialty of Burgundian gastronomy, it can also be made and served according to different regional preparations.
I know, I know. The mere thought of cooking and eating snails may make some of you squirm, but trust me, this isn’t your garden-variety mollusk.
Escargot is a quintessentially French dish known for its rich, buttery flavor and unique, slightly chewy texture. And while the idea of trying it may feel a bit daunting, I assure you that when prepared correctly, escargot is an absolute culinary revelation that’ll make your taste buds dance with joy.
In this blog post, we’ll be embarking on an exciting culinary adventure, learning to cook this exotic dish at home. No need to feel intimidated, mes amis! While escargot may seem a bit luxurious and fancy (and it indeed is), the process to prepare it is simpler than you’d think. This recipe will not only guide you through each step of the way, but will also provide useful tips and tricks to help you master the dish like a true French chef.
And even better, I’m going to show you how to adapt this traditionally French dish to the American kitchen. We’ll explore sourcing the ingredients, the perfect wine pairings, and how to serve it to impress your family and friends. So get ready to broaden your culinary horizons and say oui to the marvelous world of escargot!
So grab your aprons, and let’s get cooking! Au revoir for now, and see you in the next section where we’ll break down the recipe step by step. Bon Appétit!
How to Make Escargot
This traditional French dish, Escargot à la Bourguignonne, is incredibly flavorful with its garlic, butter, and parsley mixture. Here’s a simple recipe you can follow at home.
This recipe serves 4-6 people as an appetizer.
- 24 canned escargots (snails)
- 24 escargot shells
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional)
- French bread for serving
Prep the Snails: Rinse the canned snails thoroughly under cold water and set them aside to drain.
Make the Garlic-Parsley Butter: In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, minced garlic, shallots, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and brandy (if using). Mix until everything is well incorporated. This is your garlic-parsley butter, also known as beurre d’escargot.
Stuff the Shells: Using a small spoon, fill each shell with a bit of the garlic-parsley butter. Push a snail into each shell, then top off with more butter.
Preheat Your Oven and Bake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Arrange the stuffed shells on a baking sheet or in a snail dish. Bake them for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the butter is bubbly and slightly browned.
Serve: Let the snails cool for a few minutes, then serve them hot, with a side of fresh French bread to soak up the extra butter.
And voilà, you have successfully prepared a classic French delicacy, right in your own kitchen! Enjoy this journey to the French countryside with every buttery, garlic-infused bite.
How to Serve Escargot
The preparation of French snails hasn’t changed much from its origins. Escargots are served on a round silver dish with indents for each shell. They are eaten with snail tongs in one hand and a snail fork in the other, allowing the diner to pick the snail meat out of each shell.
It is recommended to serve escargots with a grand cru white wine from Burgundy vineyards, such as Meursault, Corton-Charlemagne, or Chassagne-Montrachet.
What is escargot made of? Escargot, which is French for “snail,” is traditionally made using land snails that are cooked, often in garlic butter, chicken soup or wine, and then typically served in their shells.
What kind of snails are in escargot? These can be fresh or canned. In France, the species “Helix pomatia,” also known as Roman snails or Burgundy snails, are often used. However, when fresh snails are not available, many people opt for canned escargots, which can be found in many gourmet food stores.
Is snail the same as escargot? Yes, “escargot” is simply the French word for “snail.” However, in culinary terms, the word “escargot” is usually used to refer to a specific dish made from edible land snails, prepared typically with garlic butter, wine, or chicken soup, often served in their shells. So, while all escargot are snails, not all snails are escargot.
Is escargot healthy to eat? Yes, escargot is relatively healthy to eat. Snails themselves are a good source of lean protein and contain a variety of beneficial nutrients including iron, magnesium, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin B12.
Do you eat the shell when you eat escargot? No, you don’t eat the shell when you eat escargot. The shell is merely used as a vessel to hold the snail and the flavorful butter or sauce it’s cooked in. When escargot is served in the shell, a special fork (escargot fork) is often used to extract the snail from the shell to eat it. It’s also common to use a shell holder, or an escargot tong, to stabilize the shell while extracting the snail. The shell can then be put aside while you enjoy the delicious, buttery snail!