Mes Escargots

So, I love snails. Shoot me. At least I think I love them. You could probably smother bits of shoe soles in a garlicky butter and parsley sauce, bake them, and serve them with good, crusty bread, and they would be good, too.

I was raised on snails, so they never scared me. Now, honestly, I don’t want to think about them really being snails because, well, snails are icky.

Recently I realized that I’ve never prepared my own L’escargots. And, it was about time to rectify this.

Funny anecdote: Right before we got married, my fiancé and I visited my mother, a couple of weeks before our elopement would occur.

My mother, being who she is, French, wanted to make my future husband happy, so for the first celebratory meal she prepared for us, it began with snails. And, he ate them. He ate other things, too. I guess he really loved me.

Photos below show two times I had l’escargots in France, in Avignon and Tourettes.

Here is a snail dish I had in Aix en Provence – snails on a salad. I’d always enjoyed l’escargots the traditional way, but this salad was superb.

To make snails the traditional way, you need snail shells, and you need snails. Fortunately one doesn’t have to forage in garden for either.

Escargots à la Bourguignonne
based on recipe in Saveur
makes 24

16 tablespoons butter
1/4 minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon cognac
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
24 extra-large snail shells
24 canned extra-large snails
Rock salt
Country bread

In a bowl, whisk together butter, parsley, wine, cognac, garlic, and shallots with a fork. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of butter mixture into each snail shell.

Push a snail into each shell; fill shells with remaining butter mixture.

Cover bottom of a baking dish with a layer of rock salt to stabilize the snail shells.

Arrange snail shells, butter side up, on the salt and bake until butter sizzles, about 10-12 minutes.

Serve hot with bread.

Alternatively, to prepare l’escargots, you don’t need snail shells, just ceramic dishes with round indentations.

Put a snail and the butter in each indentation, then bake the same way in a hot oven.

You’ll still need a little fork and good bread.

Snails are a wonderful excuse to eat bread soaked in a garlic parsley butter.



67 thoughts on “Mes Escargots

  • My, my, Mimi! This is a wonderfully descriptive post featuring something I never dreamed I could make at home. I can’t wait to try this recipe. The photos were especially helpful.
    Thank you!

  • I think it really is mostly the sauce that make escargots so delicious, but who cares? I love them, too, especially with a nice crusty baguette to sop up those juices. Heaven!

  • One of my all time favorites. With that said, I’ve not made Escargot in sometime. Now you got me thinking, where’s our Escargot plates??? OK, as soon as I can find those guys I’m making Escargot.

    • Fun! I never truly realized how ugly these things were until I made them the other day! They definitely look much better covered in parsley, sitting on bread!

  • Gosh, that took me back! I remember eating these for the first time was I was 11, on a school trip to Paris. It was bravado, really, and I can take or leave the actual snails, but I still love the garlic butter sauce!

  • Ooh, I love them too, and I especially love mopping up the juices with lots of crusty bread. Bizarrely I’m not so keen on whelks (which are effectively sea snails) and Big Man is all contrary…he enjoys whelks but won’t eat snails! In Jerez, Andalucia they serve little glasses of tiny snails cooked in a spicy broth with chill and anis…delicious!

    • That sounds so good! I’ve had sea snails in France, and I liked those too! My Chinese friend was just telling me about snails they used to get that lived in the rice paddies. They stir fried them with garlic and ginger, added a little soy sauce and something she thought was alcoholic. Mirin? Anyway, that sounds good, too! As long as someone else does the harvesting…

  • I wasn’t raised on snails, so it wasn’t an easy start. I then worked at a restaurant where we got the live ones… I will not go into details, but the process of preparing them is not for the squeamish. I handled it, but never ate them since… I do love the butter though! :)

  • I wonder if there’s a correlation between liking snails and liking oysters? I know it’s true here at the house :). I’ve been eating them since I was fairly young, so I grew up liking them. I’ve got one kid who’s in, and one who’s no way. Ah well. Looking forward to the next time now. Thanks.

    • That’s funny you said that because i was just talking to a friend about that very thing. At least snails are bite size. Not so much oysters. It might be frowned upon, but I’m not above taking a knife and fork to any huge oysters I might be served!

  • Oh, you’re courageous! I remember the chef in Paris saying that you need to buy specifically prepared snails in order to eat them. I suppose the reason that some people are turned off by them is that they think of the slimy snails they see in their garden! But hey, I’m game- especially if I have some yummy bread to sop up the juices!

    • Well when you buy them in cans, they are cooked. So really they’re just warmed in the browning butter. I would certainly want nothing to do with harvesting and prepping snails!

  • Snails were the first daring food I tasted when I was a teen luving on pasta, pizza, and chicken breast. I live their chewiness. But of course it is the garlic-parsley butter and good bread that make the difference. In Spain I loved the tiny snails in Valencian paella, it made the dish special (despite snails not really having a taste). That salad looks intriguing, and a nice change! Nice post, Mimi

  • I have had great snails. I have had awful snails. I have never had a whelk that didn’t chew like an old boot. If I never have another snail or whelk, I won’t be sad. However, these do look tasty…

  • Wait a sec……where did you say you lived? WOW!!! Just salivating, it’s been sometime since I’ve indulged in that delicacy! Prob the last time in France. Hmmmmm, will have to rectify that soon, like you :)

  • I love snails but I have never prepared them myself as I’d want to prepare them fresh and wouldn’t even know where to get them (although in summer there are plenty of snails to be found in our backyard, they are not the same variety. I still remember the first time I had snails 35 years ago in a hotel in Chamonix. It was in one of those pans with holes and I liked them.

    • I honestly have no idea where they would be sold just-pulled-out-of-the-shell, but I’m no expert. My mother always used the shells and the canned snails – I think they’re just poached. But good luck!

  • I have to admit that I’m not a snail kinda guy, but this post makes them look delicious! Plus, canned snails?? I don’t think I’ve ever seen those! Thanks for opening my eyes up to a new recipe. :-)

  • Oh my – I just can’t. I’m terrified! I’m not sure why as I was brought up on little shellfish like cockles and mussles and they can’t be that different. You do manage to make them sound so much more appealing than anyone else has done so far though, which is some acomplishment! Beautiful photography on the recipe xxx

  • I always loved snails… that is until I made them myself. After that, I couldn’t get the image of the ugly little critters out of my mind. My younger daughter loved snails so much as a child, she ordered them every time they were on the menu. On a family holiday through Quebec once, she ate them at every meal. We had to keep the car windows cracked to air out the vehicle. I still like to order them at a good restaurant, but refrain from making them myself. I would definitely dig in to the delicious looking platters of snails you have made, though!

    • Well they are certainly unattractive – that’s exactly what I said to my husband. Wasn’t I aware of what they looked like when I pulled them out of their shells??!!! That’s so funny about your daughter. I had a garlic-loving baby as well – loved eating straight pesto!

  • I haven’t had snails in ages! And I’ve never made them. I need to — they’re so good. Well, the better/garlic sauce is. You’re right — I don’t know exactly what they taste like, just the sauce. :-)

  • I love snails to but I’ve never made them. I sometimes think about grabbing a bunch from my California garden. I’ve heard they are the exact same kind they eat in France. It seems all you need to do is feed them clean iceberg lettuce for a while, then withhold food for a few days and they are safe and clean to eat. However, what if I’m wrong about any of this. So (just like mushrooms) I leave the harvesting to experts. Thanks for the recipe (just in case though). GREG

    • Ew. No, I want nothing to do with snails like that. I don’t know if you can have a lethal allergic reaction to a snail, but beyond that I just don’t want to think about actual snails. Or lambs, or anything.

  • I like eating them occasionally, but I haven’t prepared them since my girlfriend and I tried to clean garden snails in Germany decades ago and found them crawling all over our apartment the next morning. We let them go.

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