The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Escargots à la Bourguignonne

July 28, 2011

Last night was a dream.

Last night, P, M and I conquered a feat in French cuisine. After a day of watching old Julia Child’s clips on YouTube I was completely immersed and couldn’t help but think back to reading Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite: A memoir of the Senses when she said “…anything with a French name seems aphrodisiac.”

So true! Today, we’re going to talk about Escargots à la Bourguignonne but lets not forget the rest of the menu – white truffle grilled cheese and chocolate soufflé. While everything in its essences was simple, the lushness was undeniable and the snails were no exception.

“Food, like eroticism, starts with the eyes…the first time I saw edible snails, I thought they were a joke.” – Allende

I can see how one would think that. But after going through the classic cooking process (lots of butter!) and then sitting back with a glass of cabernet sauvignon, fresh rolls in front of me and watching the butter bubble – the only thing I could think was “There is nothing better than this moment right now.”

Escargots à la Bourguignonne is a sexy dish. It’s something made only for that special someone or yourself. So simple and so easy yet rich…velvety…decadent.

I don’t believe everyone can appreciate snails, which is why (as with everything that you make with love) they should be made with caution. It’s one of those dishes where the slightest question in appreciation will cause you to lose faith in the persons’ taste level and possibly the human condition as a whole. With such things like this, it’s best to leave them in your back pocket, only to be brought up when the company is without a doubt, worthy.

Here is the original recipe, originally publishing in Gourmet – 1949.

We altered a bit, omitting the use of snail shells. Not necessary and not worth the work unless you are serious about presentation. We also added fresh Parmesan cheese on the bottom of the pan and on top the snails, which was beautiful after a minute or two under the broiler.

· 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)

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. (We used a garlic press.)

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.


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Class out the… well, classy. Love the D & G photo!

Chris Bell

July 28, 2011

There’s nothing like eating snails off of Matthew McConaughey’s face.


July 28, 2011

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