SNAILS WITH CHESTNUTS AND SHALLOT-INFUSED BUTTER; ESCARGOTS IN PASTRY, FRANCE, Normandy, France
Helix Escargots – 1.5 dozen of extra-large
Puff Pastry – ½ sheet
Free Range Egg – 1
Chestnuts – 6 whole pieces (40 grams)
Apéritif à la Châtaigne – 4 tablespoons
Shallots – 1 medium size
Parsley – a few sprigs
Unsalted Butter – 60 grams
Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Escargots – Escargots are edible land snails, consumed since pre-historic times before becoming an epicurean hors d'oeuvre in France. Escargots are also eaten in other European and Francophone countries. The two main varieties of the edible land snails, native to Europe, include Helix Pomatia and Helix Aspersa. Escargots de Bourgogne, the land snails cultivated in the Burgundy region of France, are classically cooked in their shells with an herb-infused butter. Snail tongs are used to hold the shell and two-pronged forks are used to remove the snails. Escargots, a nutritious food containing lean protein, have a tender texture and a woody flavor. For our recipe, we select extra-large Helix Escargots from Burgundy by Saveurs de la Terre. We use a Puff Pastry dough, 100% vegan made with palm oil, produced by Aussie Bakery. The Apéritif à la Châtaigne is a delicious chestnuts-based aperitif, made by Domaine Orsini located in the Balagne region of Corsica in France. We use whole organic chestnuts that are already cooked and peeled. We bake the escargots with the chestnuts and a shallot-infused butter, topped with the puff pastry. Our Escargots in Pastry is a harmony of flavors, textures and aromas.
Step 1 – Defrost the puff pastry: remove from the package, place on the plate and leave 30 minutes at room temperature. Cut the defrosted dough into two circles with a slightly larger diameter than the ceramic soufflé dishes. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Step 2 – Chop finely the parsley and the shallot, and cut the chestnuts into quarters. In a sauté pan, sauté the shallots in butter for one minute. Add the Apéritif à la Châtaigne, the parsley and the sea salt. Stir lightly and remove from the stove.
Step 3 – Select two ceramic soufflé dishes (4 inches wide by 2 inches high). Drain the escargots and rinse with cold water. Place equal amounts of escargots, chestnuts and the shallots with butter mixture. Note: Leave a little space from the edge inside the ceramic soufflé dishes as the pastry expands during baking.
Step 4 – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush the edges of the puff pastry. Turn over the puff pastry, place on the ceramic soufflé dishes and gently fold the edges to seal them. Brush lightly the tops of the puff pastry with the egg, then place the ceramic soufflé dishes in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown.
Step 5 – Place the ceramic soufflé dishes on individual plates and serve immediately. Enjoy the harmony of the escargots and chestnuts!