Escargots may not be in your usual home-cooking rotation, but maybe they should be! The garlicky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth silkiness of this classic yet scarcely consumed at home dish, is totally crave-worthy. It may be near impossible to find fresh snails, but do not fret — canned are just as good and actually what you’ve likely tasted if you’ve ever dined on escargots at a French restaurant. Just make sure they are of the highest quality. Pair this with a glass of Chablis and you just might think you’ve been transported a quaint French countryside bistro!
24 snails (about sixteen ounces)
24 snail shells
1 ½ sticks (six ounces) good quality butter, preferably European, softened
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons white wine
1 ½ teaspoons cognac
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 baguette, sliced into half-inch-thick slices
Using a hand mixer or the back of a fork, mix together the butter, garlic, shallot, parsley, white wine, cognac, sea salt, and pepper. Lay a piece of plastic wrap out on the counter and mound the compound butter into the middle. Using wet fingers gently shape into a rectangle about two inches thick, then loosely wrap in the plastic and roll with your palms to make a log of butter. Refrigerate for at least an hour to firm, or overnight for best flavor.
Put the snail shells into a saucepan and cover with three inches of water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, then drain. Position snail shells on a paper towel-lined plate with their openings down, in order to dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a snail shell into each cup of a mini muffin pan — if you don’t own a mini muffin pan, fill a 9×13 baking dish with at least one inch of kosher salt, leveled, and make divots to hold the shells upright.
Remove butter from fridge and stuff about a ½ teaspoon into each snail shell, followed by a snail and then another ½ teaspoon of butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes until you hear the butter sizzling.
While snails are baking, arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan in a single layer and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes until lightly toasted.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Philippe Goulley Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2010 (inquire with one of these retailers)