Escargot is snails usually prepared first in some white wine and then sautéed in butter with onions (or shallots) and garlic and parsley. It is considered to be an appetizer, and the cost is usually between $8 and $11 per serving of six snails. Typically restaurants serve the snails in snail shells on a very hot white glass or porcelain platter with indentations for each shell for an attractive and functional presentation (you want to keep the snails and sauté ingredients hot during eating). The sauté ingredients are drizzled in and around the shells after the sautéed snails have been inserted in them. The appetizer is served with a cocktail fork and sometimes with special snail shell holders for easy removal of the snails and with some bread to sop up the delicious melted butter, onions, parsley and garlic.
By random chance I happened to see canned snails in a discount "job lot" store and I decided to buy a few cans and prepare them. Now here is the best part … each can contained 24 to 25 extra large snails without shells … the price was only $1.25 per can. I couldn’t believe the price so I doubted the quality but decided to try them. They were superb! The following day I revisited the store and bought every can they had left on the shelf … 19 in all.
You won’t believe how simple the recipe is and how delicious the escargot is. I ate 12 and I was wishing I had prepared more. Very recently my great friend, Sue Rosa, suggested I can improve the escargot recipe with the addition of a small amount of Pernod® liquor. I have yet to try it but I'll bet it provides a unique effect. Sue should know as she and her husband have owned a few restaurants with high end chefs.
Ingredients: (three to four servings)
1 can of 24 snails
6 oz. of a medium dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or a French white burgundy
½ stick of butter
¼ cup very finely diced sweet onion or shallot
2 cloves fresh garlic diced very fine or processed through a garlic press
½ tsp. Sea salt
½ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. dried parsley flakes or 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. Pernod® liquor
24 snail shells (optional)
1 small French baguette, sliced into ½ inch thick slices (optional)
Dump the snails and the liquid from the can into a small saucepan. Add the wine and heat to a simmer on low heat. Let the snails simmer for two to three minutes, then drain them and place them in a small skillet. Discard the liquid.
Meanwhile, put the dishes or plates and any snail shells you may have purchased into a 250ºF oven to pre-warm them.
Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, mix them and heat the contents on low heat to a sauté temperature, which simply means getting the melted butter hot enough to make the onions and garlic bubble slowly. Sauté on very low heat for three to four minutes but be certain not to let the garlic or onions turn tan or brown. Remove the skillet from the heat. Also, overcooking will result in the snails becoming tough instead of remaining tender.
Remove the snails to whatever pre-heated serving dish or plate you intend to use. If you used snail shells then use small tongs to put one snail into each shell. Drizzle the sauté butter, onions and garlic and parsley over the snails and/or into the shells.
Serve the escargot with the slices of the French baguette and the same kind of wine you used to simmer the snails.