Escargots de Bourgogne

When most people think of escargot, the one and only dish that comes to mind is escargot de bourgogne.

This blend of garlic, butter, parsley and, of course, snails has become so closely associated with tradition of eating snails that, to most people, attempting any other method of preparation would be almost unthinkable.  

Stodgy? Sure, you could make the argument, but it’s an indisputable classic. Any catalogue of snail recipes would be woefully lacking if it didn’t include the tried and true Burgandy method.

As I mentioned in my post about processing wild-caught snails, I find the shells of garden snails to be too fragile and small to actually use as a presentation vessel, so for this recipe, we’ll be using the caps of the baby bella mushrooms. It still looks presentable, and the caps absorb a good deal of the flavor from the garlic butter.

So here it is, in all its galic-y glory.

Cook time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Prep time: About 15 minutes, not including setting time for the butter

Before you set out on this recipe, be sure to read my entry on purging, cooking and processing snails. Its an integral part of any dish using garden snails, and the recipe below assumes you’ve already taken those necessary steps.

Also, the garlic butter is, obviously, a necessary element here. You’ll want to make that a day in advance to allow the butter to set back into a solid state in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

Garlic Butter:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dry white wine

dash of corse kosher salt

Court Bouillon:

2 ½ cup white wine

1 ½ cup water

½ cup carrot, roughly chopped

½ cup celery, roughly chopped

½ cup onion, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped

1 lemon, halved

½ teaspoon peppercorns

Escargot de Bourgogne

12 snails

6 baby bella mushrooms, stemmed

The day before you plan to serve your snails, you’ll want to put together your garlic butter.

In a small saucepan, melt your butter over a medium low heat and add the garlic, parsley, white wine and salt. Whisk together until your ingredients have combined thoroughly. Pour the mixture in a small bowl and place into the refrigerator to solidify overnight. In addition to the garlic butter, one of the central flavoring elements of a good escargot dish is a long simmer in court bouillon, a poaching liquid consisting largely of white wine and aromatics.

For our bouillon, you’ll want to add all of your ingredients to a medium sized saucepan, being sure to squeeze the lemon juice into the pan before tossing the remaining fruit into the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil and then take the heat down to low, just enough to keep the bouillon simmering. At this point, you’ll toss in the snails and let the whole thing simmer for 3 hours, adding more water if reduction starts to pose an issue.   

Toward the end of the boil, you’ll want to start prepping the mushrooms and your serving dish.

If you have an escargot dish - a small plate with dedicated cups for the snails - break it out now and spoon a little bit of your solid garlic butter into each cup. If you don’t have a dedicated escargot dish, its no problem, take a shallow bowl and smear a layer of butter across the bottom. Either place your mushrooms into the cups or arrange them in the bowl and then spoon a healthy portion of garlic butter into each cap. Be sure to leave enough room for the snails. It’s really their show, after all.

When the snails finish their simmer, remove them from the bouillon. You may need to strain out the soilds and sort of pick through to locate all of your snails. Place two snails in each of the butter-loaded mushroom caps and top each of them off with another healthy spoonful of butter. Heat your oven to 300 degrees and place the entire dish inside. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to ensure the mushrooms soften up enough. Once the butter looks melted remove and serve immediately.

If you took the time to collected, purge, process and simmer these snails from start to finish, be sure to take an extra few seconds to enjoy the moment. It’s a lot of work for not a lot of food, but that should make you savour each bite just a little bit more.