by Guest blogger: Molly Watson
of Edible Communities
Listen to her podcast HERE
Those snails in your garden aren’t just edible, they are the authentic ingredient for classic escargot—snails in garlic butter. Once you’ve captured them (if your garden has snails, you know to look on the underside of furniture and under large leaves to find them) and purged them as outlined here, and described in the podcast here, you’re ready to cook them. Know before you start that purging them takes several days.
To prepare the snails for any recipe, including this one, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the snails for 3 minutes, drain and rinse with cool water, remove the snails from the shells (tweezers work well for this), bring a pot of 3 parts water and 1 part distilled white vinegar to a boil, cook the snails to remove their slime, about 3 minutes. Drain and proceed with your dish of choice.
Escargots are best served with plenty of bread—a nice crackly baguette is the traditional choice—to soak up the scads of garlic butter.
24 snails, de-shelled and de-slimed
24 snail shells (optional*)
Rock salt (optional)
1/4 cup butter
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Drain the snails, if needed. Set the shells in an escargot plate, if you’re lucky enough to own such an item. For the rest of us, set them in a small baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. You don’t want it too much bigger than all the shells because you want the melted butter to sort of stay with the snails, or in an escargot dish with individual wells for each snail. If they tip over too much, consider laying down a thin layer of rock salt to nestle them in so they stay steady.
Peel and mince the garlic and the shallot. Mince the parsley. In a small bowl, mash the butter with the garlic, shallot, and parsley to form as smooth of a paste as you can (you can also do this in a food processor if you have a mini one). Add salt and pepper to taste—the amount of salt will depend on the salt level of your butter and the amount of pepper will depend on your love of black pepper.
Put a small amount of the butter in each shell, stuff in a snail, and top it all off with as much butter as you can stuff in the shell. Rearrange the shells as needed to keep them steady and bake until the butter is melted and the snails are tender, about 15 minutes.
*The shells are fun, but if you choose not to bother with the shells, simply put the prepared snails in a small baking dish or ramekin and top with the butter. Since the snails aren’t buried in protective shells, they only need to bake for about 10 minutes shell-less.
About this author:
Molly is the editor-in-chief of Edible Communities, the flagship website for a network of 80+ hyper-local food magazines across the US and Canada. She is the author of Bowls! (2017) and Greens + Grains (2014), both from Chronicle Books, as well as the forthcoming Should We All Be Vegan? out this fall (2019) from Thames & Hudson. She lives in San Francisco where the winters feel colder than her native Minnesota, no matter what the local say.
How to reach Molly
Wow, I did not know this was possible! I would most definitely NOT be able to tell my husband where I got them! 😆