Snail Butter! {CtBF}

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.

Lisa (right) and Me (left) with our dragonfly ornaments.

Happy French Friday!  See you in April!




Posted on 31 March 2017, in Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Helyn Benjamin

    Hi. Can smell the delicious aroma of snail butter. Ornaments look great. Snow melted? Xoxoxo

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I enjoyed this post of yours! And a lovely picture of you and Lisa with your beautiful dragonflies! I have made this recipe quite a number of times now with a variety of vegetables, all turned out well!

  3. The first time I ever ate snails was in Montreal when the kids were on a basket ball tournament back in the 60’s. Egads, I am old. Anyway, I guess the wine was good,
    cause no way would I have touched those little suckers sober. The sauce was good, and plan to use it on other veggies. It’s great to see two bloggers meeting up. Great photo. It is so much fun.

  4. Ro! Love that story!!

    Betsy, I think that your asparagus would have been way better than my beans. They sound delicious! And the idea of the minced garlic sounds great. I have a jar of the roasted garlic, that might be a good idea too.

  5. First off, I would have loved to be a little mouse in the corner when Ro was gearing up (wine wise) to eat snails. I cannot remember where I first had snails but I do remember first making them at home in the early 1980s. Every time I go to a French bistro – in the states or France, I order them. And, you’re right, Betsy, I mostly want to get through the snail part so I can dunk the rest of the baguette slices in that calorie-laden butter. (I plan to make this when I return to Colorado next month.) Your asparagus looks delicious and I am thinking I also would enjoy this on any green vegetable and how about leeks? I forgot that Lisa lived near you. Fun to see you both together. Love your dragonflies, Ladies. Katie, Marcel, Alaia and I had a wonderful time today. Talked about you. (All good.)

  6. LOL re: Nana’s story too! I would probably need a lot of wine to eat snails too! This was a nice snail-less compromise! So fun you met up with Lisa!

  7. Love your story, the picture of the snail shells and on how well the freeze-dried garlic works. Best of all is that delicious asparagus in the butter sauce. I’d definitely make that some time.

  8. I admit I have never eaten snails, but I loved the green beans. Funny story about those snails in the tube, they were in our home forever too!! Nice suggestion to change it out with asparagus, I will try that next as aparagus has been a weekly staple lately.
    The dragonflies WERE so much fun to make, I hope to get that garden open soon!

  9. Love those dragonflies!! Also, Ro’s story is hilarious. I first had snails at some small touristy restaurant in the 18th arrondissement when I did my solo, first-summer-post-college trip to Europe. They were fine and nowhere near as gross as I thought they’d be, particularly with that butter! They sound awesome with the asparagus and I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  10. Your asparagus looks delicious! Totally agree that the snail butter was really good! I am going to make the snail butter with other greens!
    Lovely dragonflies!

  11. Those dragonflies are beautiful and so nice to see photos of you and Lisa together! I think this sauce would be good with almost anything and even though I enjoy escargots, I’ll use it much more often on vegetables. Good call on the asparagus – always best to use what’s in season. :)

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