Escargot: The delicacy that’s worth the effort
Some of the world’s finest delicacies are the ones we are scared to try out. With current food trends like; unicorn toast, white truffles, Kobe beef, and wasabi cookies, you can begin an adventure in food.
Don’t bore your taste buds by sticking to regular dishes when there are a variety of exotic dishes to taste. One culinary classic you ought to try is escargot. If you are wondering what escargot is, it is good practice to learn about a classy uncommon cuisine before tasting it. This makes trying new delicacies less scary, and so, below is everything there is to know about escargot.
What is Escargot?
Escargot, pronounced as ‘Escargo’, is a French word that means ‘snails’. It is also a snail-based French cuisine where the snails are served in their shell. Though delicious, not all snails are edible. The most consumed species of snails are helix pomatia, helix lucorum, and helix aspersa.
France consumes about 60 tons of helix pomatia per year. Though Escargot is a French dish, It is well-known in Spain, Morocco, Greece, Portugal, and Algeria. While there are snails in both bodies of water and on land, land snails are the ones used for escargot and other dishes made with snails. This is because land snails are healthy, low in fat, and high in both water and protein.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one 3-ounce serving of snail meat contains 14 grams of protein and only 75 calories. Although in America, eating snails is not very common, you would mostly find them in french restaurants. However, just like every other meat, people eat snails and enjoy them.
What Does Escargot Taste Like?
Butter and garlic make up the primary flavor of escargot, and many have compared the taste to Clams, Mussels, and Oysters. Snails tastes like Baked Oysters dipped in a lot of butter and garlic sauce.
Escargot absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it is cooked with. It is considered to have a natural chewy, and smooth texture with a mild herbal flavor like mushrooms.
How to Eat Escargot
Before trying out Escargot, learn how to properly eat this dish. This is the only way to enjoy it.
The snails used for Escargot are raised on a clean, rich, nutritious diet, like fruits, cereals, and leaves. They are Purged before preparation through several days of fasting. It is always best to buy snails cultivated a week before.
You need to familiarize yourself with your tools. When the escargot is served, It should be served with a plate, snail tongs, and snail fork, especially if it is served as an appetizer.
Below are steps on how to enjoy your Escargot delicacy:
- Grasp your escargot by the shell with snail tongs, and in the absence of snail tongs, you can use a napkin and then hold the shell over your plate and prepare to extract the meat.
- Pull the meat out of the shell, and while holding your escargot with either a napkin or snail tongs, take your snail fork and insert it into the mouth of the shell. You should see a small piece of meat inside the shell.
- Pierce the meat with the snail fork and twist firmly until you feel the meat come loose. Then pull the meat from the shell.
- Dip your escargot in the sauce it is served with. The sauce may be served separately or doused on the tray. However, dip your escargot into the sauce provided.
As you enjoy your escargot, remember that it has a similar texture to other mollusks, like clams and mussels.
Unlike sea-dwelling mollusks, snails lack a briny flavor, this is an advantage because it allows the herbs and spices used in its preparation to be properly absorbed.
Where to Buy Escargot
You can buy escargots at various places, and like most things, you can get them online. First, you’d want to try Amazon, where you can buy everything from extra large escargot snails to specialized dishes and utensils. You’d also want to try the special Roland brand extra snails with the shells removed or any other available brands.
You could also get escargot from different websites, where you can choose from various snail species. Peconic Escargot is another site devoted to selling it with tips on how to cook it, different dishes, and recipes that can be created with it.
How to Cook Escargot
Preparing escargot will require the following ingredients:
How to Prepare the Garlic Butter
- 2 tsp shallots
- 1 tsp garlic
- 50g softened butter
- 2 tsp parsley
- A pinch of salt
- Sprinkle of pepper
How to Prepare the Snails
- 50g snails in brine
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups of water
- 1⁄2 vegetable stock cube
- Half a box of snail shells
First, preheat your oven to 220C (428F).
The following procedures should be carried out with fresh snails and under hygienic conditions.
- Crush the garlic and shallots together in a food processor or blender, add the parsley, and process again until the mixture is smooth.
- Remove the processed ingredients and add into a separate bowl and incorporate the butter in bits using a wooden spoon until it’s smooth.
- Add the seasoning, stir and chill to allow the flavors to infuse.
- If you’re using canned snails, drain and rinse.
- Boil the water, stock cube, thyme, and bay leaf together, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer.
- Add in the snails and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove and drain. Leave to cool.
- For the final result, insert a little of the garlic butter into each shell, add the snail and press down gently. Then top each snail with more garlic butter to cover the shell’s opening and smoothen it with a spoon.
- Place the shells in an oven-friendly dish on a bed of rock salt and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot.
Escargot is not just eaten to satisfy taste buds. It has very rich benefits and a high nutritional value. Escargot is an excellent source of protein and has no fat, sugar, or carbohydrates, which makes it a healthy food. It is also a good vitamin E, zinc, calcium, and iron source.
Consumption of escargot can boost the immune system, and because it has a good amount of tryptophan, it aids the release of serotonin which helps to boost our mood.