A while back during a shopping trip to Walmart, I spied some canned snails…or uh, escargots. Now I love restaurant escargot, the tenderness of the snails coupled with that warm butter and garlic, you simply can’t go wrong. A story my mother likes to tell is when my cousin and I were young, around the ages of 7 or 8, we were at a nice restaurant with my grandmother at an upscale restaurant in Florida. The waiter came around to take our order and like the adults we ordered escargot and stone crabs for ourselves. The waiter looked at my grandmother and she said, if they’ll eat it, they can have it. Yep, I’ve always had a rich palate.
I’ve never bought snails from the store, only from restaurants. I was kinda scared that making them myself I’d be kinda grossed out and never want to eat them again, but I’m happy to say, that did NOT happen! It only allowed me to discover the culinary ease of making tasty escargot at half the price from home!! And as gross as they look, they are so tender and delicious! Truth be told, I think the canned ones from Walmart were better than some of the restaurant versions I’ve had. Some of the restaurants don’t clean theirs well enough and they’re a bit sandy. I didn’t have that issue with the canned.
In preparation for making these, I bought some bite sized pastry puffs and I even ordered escargot plates! I went all out for this and I wasn’t disappointed! I didn’t use the plates, but I did use the puffs and modified this recipe I found online from Food & Wine:
Escargot in Herbed Cream
24 frozen puff pastry shells
2 T. salted butter
2 lg. shallots, minced
1/2 c. minced flat leaf parsley
1/4 c. minced chives
2 T. minced tarragon
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 can large snails, drained and rinsed and cut in half evenly (the large are too big for the bite size puff pastry)
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. heavy cream
Bake puff pastry shells according to package directions. Cut out the scored center and discard. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool
Melt butter in skilled. Add shallots and cook over low heat until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add parsley, chives and tarragon, season with salt & pepper and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the snails and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
Spoon snails and their sauce into the pastries and spoon leftover sauce over shells. Serve warm. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
I placed them all on a small plate and walked around the house serving everyone. I only told the better half what it was. He popped one in his mouth and did the “eh, it’s ok” grunt. A few minutes later he was in the kitchen looking for more.
I headed into the oldest’s bedroom and offered her one. She looked at it and named a few things, to which I said no to all guesses. She took one after smelling it and popped it in her mouth. She chewed…I said, “Good?” With her mouth full, she nodded and grunted yes. She finished and said, “Don’t tell me what it was.” I said, “Ok.” and walked out of her room.
I found the youngest who was playing games in the basement. She took one, said “ooo, bread, butter and garlic…” and popped it in her mouth. I said, “Well, yes, but there’s more to it. Do you like it?” She said yes and grabbed another. She said “What is it?” I said, “I’ll tell you later.” She looked at me wild eyed, but kept chewing. I walked out of the room.
Before I knew it, the oldest was in the kitchen, looking for more. So…the snails went over well! I was thrilled that they ate them without knowing what they were. They’re growing up and they know I wouldn’t dare feed them anything I wouldn’t eat myself!! And all that makes me very happy!
So if you like snails or even if you’ve never tried them, take it from me these are delicious, you won’t be disappointed!! As I told my neighbor, if you like butter and garlic, you’ll love them!