Daily Archives: 31 March 2017
My first memory of the concept of “snails as food” is the image of a plastic tube of giant snail shells with a tiny can at the bottom that my mother kept in our pantry of my childhood home. (See the tiny picture at the right.) I’m not sure where it came from, but most likely, it was a souvenir, either brought home by my parents from a trip or bestowed on them by travelling friends. To the best of my knowledge, no one ever ate the snails inside the can, but the tube sat there year after year.
Fast forward to adulthood. I know I’ve eaten snails once or twice in French restaurants, but I couldn’t tell you where or when. What I can tell you is that the most memorable thing about them is the delicious garlic butter that is the essence of escargot. Sure, the butter coats the chewy snails and makes them marginally appealing. However, sopping up any remaining butter with fresh bread is the main event.
The name of this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, Green Beans in Snail Butter, was filled with intrigue for me. Based on the title alone, I assumed that snails would be incorporated into some sort of compound butter to be served over the green beans. Fussy and complicated on the face of it. In reality, the recipe is so much simpler. What we’re actually making is that amazing butter the snails are traditionally served in. Instead of providing a bath for snails, green vegetables are immersed instead.
Desperate for spring, I had picked up asparagus earlier in the week. I decided to go with what I had on hand. I cut the asparagus spears into green bean length pieces and steamed them.
I also discovered that all the heads of garlic I had were spoiled. I had some minced garlic from Penzey’s that I had picked up when I had a coupon for a free jar. I used this instead. I found that the freeze-dried pieces added a subtle texture, and the garlic seemed to resist the urge to burn that often happens when I freshly minced garlic.
Minced garlic sautéed in butter with a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley is about all there is to it before seasoning with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. I tossed the asparagus in the fragrant butter and Voila!
I will definitely make Snail Butter again when I feel like dressing up green vegetables or maybe fish or seafood. I count this recipe as yet another winner.
The asparagus in snail butter was the perfect side for the New York Times’ Roasted Provencal Chicken.
You can find the recipe here on Serious Eats or on page 222 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this book, I highly recommend it. There are so many delicious recipes that I’ve added to my repertoire. To see what my blogging friends thought of snail butter, check their links here on the Cook the Book Fridays website.
Bonus note: Last night, I saw my friend Lisa of Hawley’s Food Path at our garden club’s meeting. We made beaded dragonfly garden ornaments. Here’s a picture of Lisa and me with our finished projects.
Happy French Friday! See you in April!