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ESCARGOTS A LA BOURGUIGNONNE


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.
 

Ingredients
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

 

Preparation
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450F.

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 well.

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.

 

Cooks' notes:
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.

 

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Site Updated November 2008

 

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