The garlicky sauce in this dish is almost as delicious as the escargots
themselves; it's hard to think of a better use for crusty bread than sopping up
this luxurious "snail butter." But the main event is the escargots' tender
texture and clean, woodsy flavor. When we ran this recipe in 1949, it took a
full day's work, most of it cleaning and prepping the fresh snails. We found
that canned snails work just as well and turn this appetizer into one that can
be whipped up anytime.
1 small garlic clove
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dry white wine
12 to 16 snails* (from a 7- to 8-oz can)
About 2 cups kosher salt (for stabilizing snail shells)
Special equipment: 12 to 16
sterilized escargot shells*
Accompaniment: French bread
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Using a heavy knife, mince and mash
garlic to a paste with 1/8 teaspoon table salt.
Beat together butter, shallot,
garlic paste, parsley, remaining 1/4 teaspoon table salt, and pepper in a small
bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Beat in wine until combined
Divide half of garlic butter among
snail shells. Stuff 1 snail into each shell and top snails with remaining
butter. Spread kosher salt in a shallow baking dish and nestle shells, butter
sides up, in salt.
Bake snails until butter is melted
and sizzling, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
• The escargots can be prepared, but not baked, up to 30 minutes ahead and kept
at room temperature until ready to bake.
• If you don't have an escargot serving dish, serve the snails on a bed of
kosher salt (to stabilize shells) on a platter.
Makes 4 first-course servings.