26 Dec2010

Escargots de Bourgogne

by Marketman

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I always used to equate escargots with fancy meals at french restaurants. Even when dining at a bistro, escargots were just not common fare. The last time we had this dish was actually at Les Halles 4-5 years ago, probably long after Anthony Bourdain had left as head chef. It may surprise many of you that making escargots at home couldn’t be easier and it makes a wickedly elegant starter. We had some escargots for Christmas Eve dinner and it was a hit! You will need a couple of dozen of the escargot shells, and a tin (yes a CAN of snail meats). Open up the can, take a nice meaty snail meat and stuff it into the shells…

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Prepare lots of softened butter with minced garlic, shallots, italian parsley, salt and pepper mixed in (a little fresh nutmeg if you like) and generously slather the butter into the shell openings. Stick this in a 375F oven for some 15 minutes or so until the butter is bubbling and the garlic is very aromatic. Serve hot with lots of french bread on the side to mop up the juices. Delicious and so incredibly easy to do. I suppose the true delicacy comes from a particular region, and only when fresh escargots are harvested and feasted upon. But for most of the world, I think we only experience the canned stuff. And what wouldn’t taste good doused in garlic butter? If you have to purchase the shells (I recycle ours), a serving of 6 snails will probably run you roughly PHP150, far less than a snazzy French restaurant would charge. How does this compare with our own native kuhol? I find the escargots to be a lot meatier, though a touch chewy if canned. Our own kuhol is delicious, but sometimes a lot of work to pull out of its shell, and occasionally possessing slightly off flavors, which many try to mask by adding lots of ginger and other ingredients…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. bearhug0127 says:

    I was watching an episode of Rick Steve’s Europe where he bought escargot shells and the meat. I believe they still cost and arm and a leg, though.

    Nice shots, MM.

    Dec 26, 2010 | 6:18 am

     
  2. isabel says:

    hello MM! these look so delicious… i’m curious about the serving plate though… is that one of your single-use implements?

    Dec 26, 2010 | 7:46 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    isabel, yes, good catch, it is a single purpose escargot plate. But you can just as easily serve them in a tapas cazuela, a small pottery dish that retails for just PHP70-100 each. :) Oh, and there are specific “tongs” to pick up the shells as well, but we don’t have any of those…

    Dec 26, 2010 | 7:50 am

     
  4. Gay says:

    This reminds me of my first escargot experience in Quebec years ago. I attended a conference on a student budget but when I saw this on the menu, I splurged!

    Dec 26, 2010 | 8:25 am

     
  5. isabel says:

    wow! thanks MM… i always learn new things from you! :)

    Dec 26, 2010 | 8:25 am

     
  6. Thel from Florida says:

    I had escargot when we were in Paris back in 1987. Curious lang kasi akong matikman ang difference sa kuhol na harvest from our ricefield in Bulacan when I was young. Para sa akin, parehong masarap.

    Dec 26, 2010 | 8:46 am

     
  7. chrisb says:

    MM, have you tried smelling a freshly opened can of escargots? It may remind one of les egouts de Paris, haha. But they’re delicious nonetheless, after a long rinse in running water and cooking in lotsa garlic =)

    Dec 26, 2010 | 10:44 am

     
  8. Clarissa says:

    I always thought that the escargots could be made with local snails. hindi ba? given that ours is darker (for the shell) and probably smaller too. but isn’t snail all the same though? :)

    Dec 26, 2010 | 11:06 am

     
  9. Marketman says:

    Clarissa, several snails ARE NOT EDIBLE. :) Kuhol come from rice fields, if I am not mistaken, certainly not common garden snails… Though I suppose, if you are adventurous, you can try other varieties… ? :) chrisb, I know exactly what you mean, the Teen opened a can with me and she went running out of the kitchen and only after some coaxing did she try the cooked snails… :)

    Dec 26, 2010 | 11:31 am

     
  10. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    This reminds me of the saudi prince (who loves eating escargot) who had the letter “S” painted all over his vintage roll royce, so that people would say “Look at that S car go!”, whenever he overtakes them……. hehehehe

    Dec 26, 2010 | 11:34 am

     
  11. millet says:

    bought a can of escargots last year & they smelled funky, and there was a tinny taste evdn after i had cooked them, so they went to the trash bin.

    Dec 26, 2010 | 6:01 pm

     
  12. raton says:

    There are things that should be left alone and not eaten. Had it been Rats that the French love to it, should be eat it too?

    Dec 26, 2010 | 8:13 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    raton, they eat guinea pigs in South America. Snakes in many parts of the world. Folks eat clams and mussels that are in shells. Others eat bulls testicles. Chicken feet. Intestines. The second stomach of a cow. Monkey’s brains. Fish eggs. Fermented shark. Blood. Field mice are in fact eaten in some cultures. Dogs. Crickets and assorted insects. Salted, raw and dried legs of pigs. Cheese with mold infused into it. Fermented vegetables left in pots in the ground. Snails sustained many a Filipino during world war II, and have become a delicacy for many. Seashells aren’t far different. Keep an open mind, humans are carnivorous by nature… they were so in order to evolve and survive and prosper. If not for the concept of religion, I suspect many humans would eat each other. Which, until just a few decades ago, some tribes actually did. Keep an open mind. Just because you can’t see yourself eating it doesn’t make it wrong for others to do so. And if you haven’t eaten it, you have no idea what it tastes like… :) Frankly, I would be more worried about all the chemicals and less than natural additives, refined sugars, salt, and fats added into “modern” and “sanitized” and “clean” food in the groceries than I am about eating natural things…

    Lest we forget, many filipinos eat kuhol, or snails. We eat balut, or fertilized duck embryos. We eat all manner of internal organs. We eat red ant eggs. We eat coconut and sugar vinegars filled with swimming vinegar eels. We eat fermented and rotting fish. So it isn’t about the French, look in your own country before worrying about the French diet…

    Dec 26, 2010 | 8:41 pm

     
  14. Pecorino1 says:

    I’ve had escargots in a fancy bistro in Paris. Even served sizzling with fancy equipment. The price was even fancier. Let me just say that our local kuhol sa gata at kangkong is much more fancier tasting :-D

    Dec 26, 2010 | 9:21 pm

     
  15. myra_p says:

    I think someone is trying to make pahabol a nomination for the fishpan award 2010…

    MM didnt bite, although he nibbled. And yes, I’d rather eat garlic-butter snails than processed food full of nitrates, preservatives, food coloring and additives.

    Dec 27, 2010 | 12:25 am

     
  16. Netoy says:

    there are already areas in our country where field mice (not rats) are considered a delicacy… so one doesn’t need to be French in order to delight in these gastronomic adventures.. and i totally agree with your sentiment, MM. my gustatory motto has always been: try anything once. how would i know what ‘that’ tastes like if i did not have the courage to try it? who knows, i may end up liking it though it may look or smell gross!!

    Dec 27, 2010 | 3:18 am

     
  17. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Isn’t it funny that Raton (RATon) would make a comment about ‘rats’ and the French, when there is ‘RATatouille’, that contains no rat, but is akin to Filipino pinakbet (minus the bagaoong and porky bits).

    Definitely that modern chemistry makes one think twice of what considers safe and edible versus natural and organic. Even with the push of healthy eating and the substitution of faux meat over animal products. The process by which some of this is made is rather unappetizing. Give me fried chicken with some feathers intact. At least you know that drumstick came from a bird.

    Dec 27, 2010 | 5:33 am

     
  18. Junb says:

    Escargot is part of our noche buena too, it’s available here at $12 (P400) for a dozen already stuff with a butter garlic parsley and a nice aluminum plate that hold them nicely serve with a nice bread Yummy!

    With escargot, jamon iberico and the likes I don’t mind following the French ot the spaniards. We don’t need to be nationalistic when it comes to food, if it taste good splurge once in a while ;)

    Dec 27, 2010 | 6:50 am

     
  19. Westy says:

    How delicious!

    My favorite way to have escargot is with a small knob of Roquefort cheese melted into each shell, no more than you’d use to seal the garlic, butter and herbs into the shells.

    I discovered that style at an up-and-coming restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA some 20 years ago, as the Napa Valley was just starting to become a foodie destination. I don’t know if that preparation has a special name other than Escargots au Roquefort—I’ve only seen it on a few menus since.

    Dec 27, 2010 | 9:54 am

     
  20. ECJ says:

    Cheers! Here’s to another year of adventurous gnoshing…!

    Dec 27, 2010 | 10:20 am

     
  21. tingting says:

    there are lots of escargots in our rice fields in Bohol. i didnt know that they are edible. i remember farmers put them in a pail and threw them away. watta waste!

    Dec 27, 2010 | 2:08 pm

     
  22. randyb says:

    A couple of questions: where does one buy (1) those large snail shells and (2) canned snails?

    Dec 27, 2010 | 10:18 pm

     
  23. psychomom says:

    mm do you have to rinse out the canned snails? would like to try this for new year celebration. wish me luck since i spoke our local roast duck purveyor and although she does not have suckling pig, she agreed that i can buy just half of her smallest pig (meant for roast pork) and will try to make your lechon.

    Dec 28, 2010 | 12:49 am

     
  24. rita says:

    i love escargot! i’m way over due for that. i need to get some soon!

    by the way, well said about the different cultures and food. i completely agree about having an open mind. so sad when people have tunnel vision.

    Dec 28, 2010 | 4:52 am

     
  25. becky says:

    @ raton – BOOM!
    hehehe

    Dec 28, 2010 | 11:11 am

     
  26. kurzhaar says:

    Marketman, actually the common garden snail in California is exactly the same species (Helix aspersa) as the petit gris in France…I believe they were an accidental release in the West. I do know people who collect them and keep them for a few weeks on fresh foods as preparation for the table. More work than the canned snails but rather nicer tasting.

    Dec 28, 2010 | 4:01 pm

     
  27. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, cool, didn’t know that. Not that I am confident enough to pick out mushrooms in the woods myself nor snails and other things that might not turn out to be the right ones… :) psychomom, I didn’t bother to rinse out the snails, but I suppose some might to remove a bit of the skanky smell of tin-like taste from the can… tingting, just make sure they are the right type of snails… Westy, a touch of blue cheese or roquefort sounds amazing…

    Dec 28, 2010 | 4:17 pm

     
  28. Marketman says:

    randyb, you can get the shells and snails at Terry’s selection on Pasong Tamo.

    Dec 28, 2010 | 4:31 pm

     
  29. gus hansen says:

    Hi Marketman! Love this entry. Where can I purchase canned snails in Manila? And would you also know where I can buy the shells? Thanks!

    Dec 28, 2010 | 6:20 pm

     
  30. Betchay says:

    So that’s what they are used for…..On a trip to France I saw these empty shells being sold in the markets. I thought they were just for home decorations! :)

    Dec 29, 2010 | 9:22 am

     
  31. Maricel says:

    Love them snails! Some of our tour mates in Paris wouldn’t touch the escargot that came with our meal so that translated to more escargot for me. Yey! And the juices mopped up with a baguette was to die for:)

    Dec 29, 2010 | 10:48 am

     
  32. kurzhaar says:

    In our household we often serve escargots en cocotte, butter/shallots/garlic/parsley with breadcrumbs on top to give the dish a nice bit of a crunch. Much faster than stuffing the shells. A couple of times we’ve topped the cocottes with puff pastry, which is nice, but perhaps just a bit of an overkill.

    Dec 29, 2010 | 12:21 pm

     
  33. Marketman says:

    gus, try Terry’s Selection on Pasong tamo, they have both shells and meats…

    Dec 29, 2010 | 6:39 pm

     
  34. Lava Bien says:

    MM damn right about your response to “raton”. I love ’em kuhol and suso (ginataan with some pako) and almost always order this whenever I visit Lucban, Quezon.

    Dec 31, 2010 | 2:13 am

     
  35. miles says:

    i remember that joke about the s car too!!! i do think that kuhol tastes better but that may be pride in our own homegrown foods. although escargots drowned in butter and garlic come a close second :D

    Dec 31, 2010 | 11:38 pm

     
 

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