Let’s be perfectly honest with one another, Citizens: anybody who enjoys eating snails prepared in the classic French fashion really loves the herbed garlic butter they’re swimming in. Equally true – not many people like snails and these poor souls are sadly missing out on that delicious butter.
As noted in this excerpted article from the New York Times:
When I was growing up, my parents were so obsessed with eating snails à la bourguignonne that one summer while vacationing in Burgundy, they paid my sister and me 5 centimes a snail to collect them from the garden of the little house we were staying in. We placed them in a bucket and secured them with a screen top. The grown-ups then starved and purged the gastropods before cooking them a few days later — drowned in garlic parsley snail butter, of course.
As much as my sister and I hated the idea of the poor critters starving to death on our patio, we did relish dipping nuggets of crusty baguette into the molten, garlicky, green-flecked snail butter, which we vastly preferred to the chewy snail bodies themselves.
Years later, I feel the same, and am convinced that the only reason to order snails à la bourguignonne is to sop up the butter surrounding them, then unload the snails on your tablemates, selling them as delicacies.
After years of doing just this, it occurred to me that maybe I should give up ordering snails entirely and just make the butter at home. It comprises butter, garlic, parsley and shallots, and it’s a simple matter to mash everything up in the food processor and then slather it over anything that stands still.
I’ve smeared snail butter on bread; radishes; grilled steak, where it dribbles delectably down the sides; sautéed shrimp; broiled mushrooms; even crispy fried tofu, which sounds odd until you taste it.
With the aforementioned knowledge – I give you my version of this garlic-laden herbaceous condiment sans (without) the snails for your tasteful enjoyment. If you like snails, by all means use this beurre escargot (snail butter) to make the classic French recipe of escargots à la bourguignonne.
For those Citizens not of the snail-eating variety, please do try this amazing condiment over pasta, garlic bread or in any recipe where garlic butter with herbs, a touch of nuttiness and the merest whisper of anchovy would bring additional savor.
My recipe is classic and benefits from the non-traditional extra touches of chervil and tarragon.
Enjoy this recipe with gusto, my Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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