When my daughter Cheryl was about seven, she told me a story of a very popular snail named Sammy. He was very well loved in his hometown of Manhattan. Friends and neighbors thought so highly of him that they pooled their money and bought him a nice little red sportscar, in which Sammy used to love to speed around Central Park of a nice afternoon. The people had had a big red “S” for “Sammy” painted on the back of the car. One day he was out for a spin. A crowd saw the sportscar coming and people cried out, “Hey, look at that “S” car go!”
That story wasn’t the inspiration for the following recipe—but it didn’t hurt, and this was a very popular appetizer for us, especially in the first few years. Since escargot in large cans are pretty inexpensive in restaurant supply houses, you might want to consider this for a spectacular addition to a wedding or large lawn party—pass the tray with toothpicks for holding.Jerry Weinberg
- 1 large can big snails (drained and rinsed – about 100 per can)
- ½ cup butter (or more)
- 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 Tablespoons chicken fat (rendered – steamed until melted, solids removed; optional)
- 3 Tablespoons black mushrooms (finely chopped – put 2 dried mushrooms in a small sauce pan, cover with water, bring to boil, remove from heat, cover, let cool—then mince finely)
- 6 Tablespoons garlic (finely chopped fresh or bottled—but not in oil)
- 3 Tablespoons onion (finely minced)
- 3 Tablespoons scallions (finely minced)
- 3 Tablespoons ginger (finely minced)
- 3 Tablespoons coriander (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (slightly rounded – or sambal)
- 2 teaspoon cumin (preferably freshly ground)
- 3 Tablespoons Pernod (or brandy)
- In large skillet, melt the butter, add the sesame oil and optional chicken fat. When medium hot, add all the other ingredients except the escargot.
- Cook till simmering. Remove from heat and cool.
- When completely cool, add escargot, stir well. Heat under broiler till bubbly, serve on attractive, perhaps silver platter with scallions and cilantro leaves scattered over tops. Serve while still quite warm. Serves thirty guests.