There are many interesting delicacies around the world that need an acquired taste, one being escargot. Whoever thought to turn a slimy, slithering gastropod into a popular European amuse-bouche had to be quite…imaginative. In appreciation of National Escargot Day, here is the 101 on how to dine on this delicacy.
It’s not like you can go into your backyard on a damp spring day and pick off the snails crawling around the greens, right? The most common snail used for the escargot dish in North America and Europe is the Helicid snails, having a helical pattern on their shell.
How to Prepare Escargot
The most important step is to clean them! Place them in a container of water with enough flour to sediment at the bottom and leave for eight hours. This will cause the snails to pass what was in their system. The snails are then separated from its shell, cooked, and reinserted back into its shell for presentation.
How to Eat Escargot
Enjoy this appetizer with a cocktail fork. Unless you’re the finger licking type, using escargot tongs is also an option. Yes, there are actually tongs specifically for escargot that exist. That napkin on your lap isn’t there for nothin’, handle those helical shells!
Classic Escargot Recipes
Escargot is a typical starter dish in France, Spain, and Portugal. Here are three classic recipes made from each country:
Spanish Recipes by Nuria
As a Culinary Adventurist, getting her hands into food before it gets onto the plate comes naturally to Reena. She spit-roasted her first whole pig at the age of eight, harvested hazelnuts in Italy, butchered a lamb at a ranch in Australia, spent a summer splitting open live lobsters at a traveling pop-up kitchen in Holland, and visits a small vineyard along the central California coast to make wine and olive oil each year. She’s determined to find the elusive white truffle in her lifetime. A graduate from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, Reena holds a deep appreciation for cultural traditions in food, and her favorite simple pleasure is sharing a meal al fresco.