How To: Escargots With Parsley Butter and Brioche

Chef Philippe Bertineau of Benoit in New York City shows Cooking Channel how to make classic French escargot.

French Classic

Chef Philippe Bertineau of Benoit in New York City shows how to make a bubbling dish of escargots with parsley butter and brioche. This French classic may seem intimidating, but thanks to a little-known secret, it's easy to make at home. The process of cleaning snails is so time-consuming that "even the best chefs buy them precooked and cleaned," Chef Philippe says.

Get the Recipe: Escargots in Garlic and Parsley Butter

Escargotiere

The terra-cotta mold that is traditionally used for escargot is called an escargotiere. At Benoit's sister restaurant in Paris, original escargot shells are used as serving vessels, but Philippe prefers to serve them in the tidy compartments of an escargotiere. You can purchase them at many gourmet kitchen stores.

Mise en Place

The mise en place for this classic preparation is simple: butter, garlic, shallots, chopped parsley and tarragon, salt and pepper.

Prepping the Snails

Chef Philippe starts by draining and rinsing a can of wild snails from Burgundy, where they're harvested in the spring. "My brother used to raise them and we tried to harvest them. We were young, it was a sad story," he recalls. The canned snails are precooked in bouillon, but a taste straight from the can reveals that, although they are edible, it'll take some more cooking to make them delicious.

Quick Saute

Next, Chef Philippe sautes the snails for just five minutes with butter, garlic and shallots. Chopped parsley is added at the end. We tasted at each stage of the process, and by this point, the snails were already quite tasty — and a lot of decadent additions were still to come.

Parsley Butter

In a blender, room-temperature butter is blitzed with chopped parsley and tarragon. Chef Philippe spoons the vibrant green mixture into a pastry bag.

Layering Flavor

He adds a dollop of parsley butter to the bottom of each hole, creating a bed of butter for each bite-sized snail.

Into the Mold

The escargots are then placed into the dish.

Over the Top

Chef Philippe cuts extra-thin slices of housemade brioche to top off each escargot. A pastry tip provides the perfect size for the round holes of the escargotiere, so he uses that to create uniform rounds.

Brioche at Home

If you don't have the time or pastry skills to bake your own buttery, eggy brioche, buy some at a local bakery. One brioche roll should do the trick.

More Butter

To finish the dish, Chef Philippe brushes the brioche coins with a little butter to ensure they're crisp and golden when they come out of the oven.

Into the Oven

The snails will bake in a 350-degree-F oven for about seven minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the parsley butter is bubbling.

Bon Appetit!

There are plenty of ways to riff on this classic recipe — Chef Philippe has experimented with everything from anise liqueur to ginger and lemongrass. Still, he prefers the simple, classic preparation of his native France: "It's all about the butter, garlic and shallot."

Get the Recipe: Escargots in Garlic and Parsley Butter

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