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The following is an amalgam of the best escargot recipes I could find, both in books and online.
All the recipes have most of the same elements in common. One thing's definite: You have to clean the little buggers first. They're full of grit.

1. Cleaning Monsieur Escargot*:

Traditional Method : Let the snails fast for a week in wooden boxes (not in plastic unless well-ventilated. You want them dry.) Wash them off. Put them in a big bowl and layer them with kosher salt or sea salt, (handful of snails, handful of salt, etc.) Don't be stingy with the salt. This is called "disgorging." The snails will foam up. Rinse them, braise them and them wash them before cooking.

Easier Method: Put them outside in a well-drained wooden box - white wood, without tannic acid (bark) that would make them bitter. Make sure the box is raised so they can't eat dirt. Wash them thoroughly every evening for three nights; this prompts them to purge themselves. If you like, feed them fresh dill; this will speed the purging and make them taste better. Then let them dry off for three days.
After purging them, braise them for three minutes, remove them from their shells and trim off the liver and pancreas, if you like. You can leave it on the Petit Gris, or little snails. The Gros Gris (big ones) should probably have them removed. Dunk the par-braised escargot in salted ice water for 15 minutes. Rinse them with fresh water. At this point, they can be cooked or frozen.

If you want to use the shells, wash and rinse them thoroughly and then boil them to sanitize them.

2. Traditional Recipe:

NOTE: This is for 100 snails. Thanks to the metric measurements, dividing the amounts for smaller recipes is a snap.

The traditional "Escargots à la bourguignonne"
First prepare the "beurre d'escargots" (Butter of Escargot "a la Burgundy")
  • 1 kilogram of unsalted butter (about 2 lbs)
  • 25 grams of salt
  • 5 grams of black pepper
  • 150 grams of garlic
  • 35 grams of shallot
  • 90 grams of parsley
  • optional: a shot of anise liqueur
Chop the garlic, shallot and parsley finely. Toss to mix.

Slowly simmer the prepared escargot for an hour to an hour-and-a-half in Court Bouillon.

Put a little butter in each shell, then stuff an escargot inside. Fill the remaining space with butter. Usually 5 grams (one teaspoon) per shell. Bake in a 200 °C ( 390 °F) oven just until the butter melts. Serve immediately. Don't forget the escargot tongs and little forks.

*Pronounciation guide:

(At the request of mr100percent, who hates it when people pronounce it wrong. (Me, too, bro...) There's no shame in not knowing, we're not snobs here.)

Escargot - es·car·GO. Not es·CAR·go. And certainly not es·car·GOT. Similarly, the second "s" in "d'escargots" is silent: des·car·GO.

Beurre - (French for "butter") Burr.

Bourguignonne - (French for "Burgundy-style") Boor·geen·YOHN. Not boor·gwig·NON·ee.

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