Saturday, February 24, 2007

Snail Butter - Beurre d'Escargots

In Burgundy they eat their snails swimming in delicious garlicky parsley butter, spearing them from their shells with cute two pronged forks made just for the purpose. But beurre d'escargots is not just for snails anymore, you know. It can be spread on warm crusty bread, a knob can be set to melt on a freshly seared steak, it can be spread on cod to be baked in papillote, melted over potatoes, and more. It keeps for weeks, if you don't find uses for it all at once, and it also freezes well. Today I made some to try out an idea for oysters.

Hum de dum dum...

The recipe I finally settled on over the years as my standard in fact comes from Paul Bocuse's cookbook La Cuisine du Marché. I initially had a rather blah feeling about this cookbook because some of the recipes say things like "garnish with sliced truffles and serve", and Lord knows only Kate can do that. Lets just say some of the recipes are not put into a realistic framework for the home kitchen, even for a French home kitchen, and the market is often missing those truffles! I wasn't too convinced at first that I could cook from his book as a companion to my common market excursions, although logically it seemed that the market he must have had in mind was one like St. Antoine. The method was bare bones as well. Not one photograph, no context given for anything, and no description about how to do anything. Just reminders and advice about ingredients, how to choose them, and proportions. In fact many of his recipes are missing oven temperatures or times of cooking. One day I realized that this book is actually Paul Bocuse's kitchen notebook, with information he compiled over many years, and like many of the best references, the content seems richer the more I learn. I started getting more and more from it, and it is now one of my first references when I'm curious about how to do something, because the proportions are always true.

His proportions for beurre d'escargots:

1 kilo of butter
20 grams coarse sea salt
1 gram of ground black pepper
a grating of nutmeg
50 grams crushed garlic
40 grams chopped shallots
50 grams almonds
100 grams finely chopped parsley

this translates to a reasonable amount as follows -

100 grams of butter (or a bit less than a stick)
2 grams of coarse sea salt or about 1/2 teaspoon
a grind of black pepper
a light grating of nutmeg
5 grams or about a clove of winter garlic (more if the garlic is fresh - use your judgement)
4 grams minced shallot or about 3/4 of a small shallot
5 grams of almonds or about 5 almonds
10 grams or the leaves from about 20 sprigs of healthy parsley, finely chopped

Crush the shallots, garlic, and almond with a mortar & pestle until smooth. Add the minced parsley and the lightly softened butter. Mix them well until it is a homogenous paste. Keep cool in a ceramic container.

Hey! Lets try it on some OYSTERS!

After about 7 minutes in a very hot oven.

Philippe Dupuis, Produceur-Ostréiculteur, always gives us 13 when we order a dozen. I always make sure Loic has the last one. We got into a heated discussion on the way home about the difference between the claires and the specials. We ate 6 no. 5s raw and then cooked the no. 3s. They were all delicious.
Just as we were finishing up the no. 5s I saw that I was not the only one inspired by oysters this morning.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Linda said...

wow what amazing photos. beautiful post!

5:22 PM, March 02, 2007  
Anonymous queenwilly said...

Gorgeous! I'm looking forward to making this. Thanks.

2:36 AM, July 27, 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home