How to Make Escargots for Bastille Day

By: Sara Levine

When we arrived at Benoit, a French bistro in New York City with a famous sibling of the same name in Paris, for a Bastille Day-inspired escargot lesson, we expected the first order of business to involve removing the little guys from their shells and painstakingly cleaning them. But the restaurant’s chef, Philippe Bertineau, let us in on an escargot secret: Thanks to an extremely intensive and time-consuming cleaning process, "even the best chefs buy them pre-cooked and cleaned."

The fact that most French restaurants serve escargots from a can is probably not shocking to anyone who has ever prepared them before, but it was news to us newbies. Benoit imports cans of wild snails from Burgundy, where they’re harvested in the spring. “My brother used to raise them and we tried to harvest them,” recalls Chef Philippe, who grew up in Poitou Charentes, a region in central-Western France above Bordeaux. “We were young, and it was a sad story.” Needless to say, none of them made it to the plate.

Benoit’s classic preparation with garlic-and-herb butter is a signature dish on the menu year round, both stateside and in Paris. With a can of escargots (sold at many gourmet markets) and a basic mise en place of butter, garlic, shallots, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper, you can impress any Francophile this Bastille Day.

Go all out and serve them bubbling in an escargot mold from a kitchen store like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table — many are inexpensive — with a crisp white wine to balance the buttery richness. “The snails are from Burgundy, so stick with a Chardonnay from Burgundy,” Chef Philippe recommends.

These are so simple to prepare, they just might become your new signature hors d'oeuvre. Check out Chef Philippe’s recipe and our step-by-step gallery of the cooking process.

More French Favorites for Bastille Day:

Keep Reading

Next Up

St. Patrick's Day Cheesecake

St. Patrick’s day is a time to turn everything green in honor of the Irish Saint. This creamy cheesecake with festive green stripes is perfect to serve after corned beef, cabbage and a Guinness. Using fresh mint makes the rich cake as bright in flavor as it is in appearance.

Mother's Day Cake

This stunning cake is bright and cheery, both in presentation and flavors. It's perfect for Mother’s Day!

Your Cue to Make Q

Get Cooking Channel's recipe for homemade barbecue sauce and start a traditional all your own.

On TV

Sugar Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Sugar Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Sweets

11am | 10c

Unique Sweets

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

3:30pm | 2:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Challenge

8pm | 7c

Cupcake Wars

10pm | 9c

Extreme Cake Makers

11:30pm | 10:30c

Challenge

12am | 11c

Cupcake Wars

1am | 12c

Extreme Cake Makers

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

A Fuss-Free Feast!

Top Thanksgiving Tips 8 Videos

Follow these simple strategies to create a stellar spread without the stress.

So Much Pretty Food Here