This easy appetizer for escargot-stuffed mushrooms will make your guests think you slaved away in the kitchen for hours. The recipe is a tradition in the Burgundy region of France, which draws a great deal from its German heritage. It also pairs well with the region's excellent and famous wines.
You can prepare the snails ahead of time, even the day before, and refrigerate them until you're ready to make the mushrooms. As an added benefit, you'll seal in the snails' flavor if you actually freeze them instead a day or several days before your guests arrive.
- 6 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 large mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
- 12 large canned snails
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Mix together the 6 tablespoons of softened butter with the shallots, garlic, celery, parsley, salt and pepper. Place a small spoonful of herb butter and a snail in each mushroom cap, then brush the exterior of the mushroom with a bit of the herb butter.
Arrange the mushrooms in a shallow baking dish. Bake them for 15 minutes and serve hot.
You can cut your preparation time a little if you use canned snails, allowing you to spend even less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
Cleaning and preparing fresh snails for cooking can take 30 minutes or more and should be done right before cooking. You can also buy snails frozen, but some professional chefs consider canned snails to be the best if you can't lay your hands on the fresh version or you don't want to spend a king's ransom for them.
You won't want to pop the snails directly from the can into the mushroom caps, however. Wash them first before beginning this recipe. Then soak them or cook them sous vide to tenderize them and to lift traces of that metallic aftertaste that can linger from the cans. Sous vide involves simmering them over very, very low heat for an hour to 90 minutes. If you opt to soak the snails, seal them in a plastic bag and place them in a warm water bath for about four hours. Make sure the water's temperature maintains at about 155 F.
Whether you simmer or soak, don't just plop the snails in water. Get creative. Try a few spoonfuls of stock and add your choice of garlic cloves, thyme, lemon zest and parsley. Use the same stock mixture in the plastic bag for soaking.