Escargot is French for snail and is also a common delicacy in European countries. For myself, I consider it to be comfort food. A friend of mine introduced me to this dish in the early 2000s and I immediately fell in love with the buttery flavor and soft texture. In fact, for quite some time it became a regular go-to for me, even as a quick lunch. As time passed and my lifestyle changed so did the frequency of my Escargot consumption. Which led me to this make this Recipe for Escargot.
What is Escargot?
Like I was saying in the beginning, Escargot is literally French for "Snail" and that's exactly what this is.
Escargot is a delicacy much like caviar and truffles.
There are snails in bodies of water and on land, however, land snails are the ones used to make escargot. Also, if you're questioning the health benefits or lack thereof, rest assured, snails are low in fat, high in protein, and consist mainly of water.
Now, with all of that being said, I don't recommend searching around your backyard for some snails to cook up. You see, snails can ingest pesticides and eat other poisonous chemicals that would be very dangerous for human consumption. In fact, the snails that are consumed are purged, then remove from their shells, and finally cooked. Some restaurants and home cooks alike will place the snails back into a shell and then add the butter and herb mixture. In this recipe for escargot, I did things a bit differently, omitting the shells altogether.
You'll typically find Escargot as hors d'oeuvres on high-end menus across the US. One of which I highly recommend. If you find yourself in Omaha, Nebraska, and would like to try some of the best Escargot check out M's Pub in the Old Market. You won't be disappointed!
Where is Escargot From?
There are quite a few types of snails eaten all over the world. However, when cooking escargot I recommend going for the premium snails and there are three kinds I recommend sticking with.
Turkish snails, European garden snails, and Roman or Burgundy snails. In this Recipe for Escargot, I chose to use Burgundy Snails.
The Wild Burgundy Snails that I used are from the Burgundy region of France, as the name might suggest. They are wild caught as opposed to many out there that are farmed and are one of the highest quality snails you'll find imported into the US. They can be ordered in small, large, and very large. I prefer the very large versions but if you or your family members are new to the world of Escargot, you may want to start with a smaller size.
This may be a little surprising, but these snails come in a can! They are already purged, deshelled, and cooked making the whole process super easy.
How much is Escargot?
Escargot can vary in price depending on where you're buying it or ordering it. In Omaha, for example, an order of six is $13.95. Whereas the same type of dish at a restaurant in New York will be about $18.00.
With that being said, I'm assuming the snails themselves are coming from a very similar place and are also canned, just as they are for this recipe. Of course, you aren't getting the experience or the chef to cook them for you. Nevertheless, the can of two dozen snails that I recommend for this recipe can easily be ordered on Amazon and cost a whopping $14.89.
So, weigh your options and what you're looking for. Do you want to personally create an experience for yourself, your family, and your friends by making this recipe for escargot?
Maybe you'd rather pay more and have someone create that experience for you?
I say do both!
What does Escargot Taste Like?
Escargot absorbs the flavors in which they're cooked. Beyond those flavors, they have a bit of an earthiness to them which I can only correlate to that of a cooked mushroom. This brings me to my next point. Most people wondering what Escargot tastes like are actually wondering what the texture might be. Which is also very similar to a cooked mushroom. When properly cooked there is a small bite and with a remaining softness. Just enough to know it's there but not overly mushy and certainly not tough or chewy as most people might imagine.
This particular recipe utilizes a garlic butter and herb mix along with a fantastic cheese blend for the flavor. Pair this with a bottle of good white wine and toasted french baguette, you've got yourself a romantic and beautiful appetizer.
How to cook Escargot without the shell
The first thing you're going to need is the snails. Jump on Amazon and grab a can. There are 24 snails to a can so be prepared to cook and serve all of them as I've heard that they don't freeze well and aren't that great left over. Certainly, correct me if I'm wrong on this.
Vegetables and Herbs
Grab yourself a red onion, some minced garlic, garlic powder, fresh Italian parsley, fresh rosemary, Kosher salt, and black pepper.
Butter and Liquids
You'll need salted butter, Chardonnay, and Olive oil.
For this particular Escargot recipe, I made a Havarti and Gruyere cheese blend. However, feel free to sub one out for Parmesan or whatever you're snail-eating heart desires!
Cast Iron Skillet
You'll want a good Cast Iron Skillet to get the butter sauce and the snails started for this escargot recipe. Cast Iron is such an amazing tool in the kitchen. Its durable, easy clean-up and versatility make it an absolute must in my kitchen. So much so, that I asked my wife if we could get rid of the rest of our pots and pans. We still have 'em...but I don't use 'em!
Escargot Serving Plates
These Escargot Serving Plates are essential for this dish. They allow the snails to cook in the butter sauce absorbing all of that wonderful flavor. Plus, it's all part of the presentation and experience.
These baking dishes make for easy serving and cleanup, and look amazing.
Also, you can use them for more than just Escargot. In fact, you can make this exact same recipe with mushrooms, shrimp, clams, or even oysters in the same exact dish. Maybe even try some beef tips. Get creative with it and your brand new Escargot Baking dishes will go a long way.
Begin by preheating the oven to 400°f. Next, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and sauté the diced red onion until it begins to caramelize. This should take around 5-6 minutes and be sure to stir them frequently to ensure they don't burn.
Now, add the chardonnay and continue to sauté the onions for about 3 minutes or until almost all of the wine has evaporated.
Time to get to the real deal! Lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter, chopped Italian parsley, rosemary, minced garlic, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and lastly the Escargot. Cook the mixture for about 6-7 minutes stirring frequently until everything is well combined.
Fill each divot of the Escargot serving plates with one snail and the melted butter mixture. Be sure to get some onion pieces in the divots and scatter some on top of the entire dish as well.
Place the dish on a cookie sheet then generously top the entire escargot plate with your cheese blend.
Bake the Escargot on the center rack for about 5 minutes then place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned on top.
Remove the Escargot from the oven and carefully serve hot with a sliced and toasted French baguette.
Don't forget some extra bread for dipping either. Those divots are still full of buttery deliciousness!
It truly doesn't matter if you're a seasoned Escargot connoisseur or a complete newbie. This Escargot recipe is easy to make, sure to impress, and absolutely divine.
I highly recommend making this as an hors d'oeuvre to Chicken Fried Kitchen's Chilean Sea Bass for the ultimate romantic breathtaking dinner.
Let me know in the comments what you thought of the finished product in the comments and if you made any changes to this recipe. I always love hearing about your culinary experiences and it helps the Chicken Fried Kitchen community of home cooks grow.
Thank you for stopping in and as usual...
Recipe for Escargot: Without the Shells
- 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ Red Onion - diced
- ¼ Cup Chardonnay
- 1 Stick Salted Butter
- 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 3 tablespoon Fresh Italian Parsley - chopped
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Rosemary - chopped
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 7.5 Oz Very Large Wild Burgundy Snails - drained and rinsed
- ¼ Cup Havarti Cheese - shredded
- ¼ Cup Gruyere Cheese - shredded
- Begin by preheating the oven to 400°f.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and sauté the diced red onion until it begins to caramelize. About 5-6 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add the chardonnay and continue to sauté the onions for about 3 minutes or until almost all of the wine has evaporated.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter, chopped Italian parsley, rosemary, minced garlic, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and snails.
- Cook the mixture for about 6-7 minutes stirring frequently until everything is well combined.
- Fill each divot of the Escargot serving plates with one snail and the melted butter mixture. Be sure to get some onion pieces in the divots and scatter some on top of the entire dish as well.
- Place the dish on a cookie sheet then generously top the entire escargot plate with your cheese blend.
- Bake the Escargot on the center rack for about 5 minutes then place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned on top.
- Remove the Escargot from the oven and carefully serve hot with a sliced and toasted French baguette.
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