As a child, Chef Jean-Francis remembers his Mother making escargot with live snails from their garden. “To prepare the snails, we would put them in a cage with salt to clean them,” he recounts on his fond memories of him and his Mother. “We would then make a vegetable stock, with a lot of pepper, to cook them in and then pick them out of their shells with toothpicks. To finish them off, we would make a spicy tomato sauce and drop them in!”
Jean-Francis also remembers how “in France, escargot can also be found fresh in the markets where they will prepare it right in front of you to eat, or even for you to take home.”
Traditionally, escargots are drenched in butter and garlic and served in their shells; however, they are quite versatile and can handle many strong flavors. Here, we combine escargots deliciously with mushrooms, olives, and a tomato sauce. Serve hot with Baguette. Since we already know what escargots are.. what exactly is a ‘cassolette’? It just means ‘a small individual dish’. So here you are: Cassolette d’Escargot. Bon Appétit!
Makes 4 servings
½ cup butter
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ tbsp garlic, chopped
36 escargots (See *Note)
¼ cup white cooking wine
1 cup Tomato Sauce strained
20 nicoise olives, pitted
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
In a large frying pan, on high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes, until brown around edges. Add garlic and escargots and sauté for 3–4 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Add wine, stirring continually for 2–3 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium, add tomato sauce, olives, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Stir in parsley, chives, and basil, and serve.
*Note: Escargots are commonly sold canned; usually 2- and 3- dozen portions. Canned escargots have been removed from their shells and cooked in a court-bouillon prior to canning; sometimes this cooking broth is included in the can. Drain and rinse snails under running water before use (some recipes may require you to reserve the broth). canned escargots can be purchased at most specialty and gourmet markets. Escargots in their shells can only be purchased from snail farms.
Recipe from New World Provence. Available here: http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=264