I saw this sign when I was in the Vendee and I immediately thought of my father-in-law, 2nd generation Irish American. I could just hear him, “Holy Mother of God, we’re not going in there Rose!” It’s too bad he has slowed down a little at 94 years old, I would love to take him to the Vendee just for the sign :)
I remember him in Paris when we stopped in this casual, not too elegant, restaurant with our then, 2 year old. My father-in-law was busy talking to my husband and my mother-in-law, when the waiter told me to stop my son from standing on the cracked nagahyde seats next to somebody’s dog. Incredulous, I slung our son on my hip and walked out. Loyal forever, my father-in-law, asking no questions, led the others out of the restaurant. When he joined me outside, he asked what had happened and I told him. Priceless, he said, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, did you see the dog”?
The frog and snail restaurant photos were taken by Roger Stowell, the eminent, resident Vendee photographer http://www.camerahols.com/. Thanks Roger.
My father-in-law has always eaten, with relish, everything I cooked. I have loved him too much to ever offend him by offering escargots, no matter how good I thought they were. He’s such a gentleman that it would just make him unhappy to refuse. Still, they are really, really good.
The Burgundy region of France is famous for their escargots or snails. During the season, you can find them in the market, live, munching on lettuce leaves, waiting to be hand-picked by the knowledgeable gourmet, taken home to be put down, cleaned and consumed. Well, those of you who have followed this blog know that I’m not going there. The ones I purchase have to be ready to cook, if you know what I mean. Dead. Cleaned.
Now there’s two ways you can do this, 1) Buy them frozen with the snails cleaned and reinserted in their shells; garlic, parsley and butter sauce added. The problem with this method is that I think that you can make the best sauce at home, controlling the quality of the ingredients. However, try this website to order frozen Burgundy escargot imported from France http://www.911caviar.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=escargots. 2) Buy good quality canned Burgundy snails, buying the shells separately, insert the snails into the shells yourself and make your sauce at home. That same website may sell the canned variety also but if not, check out other websites or visit your local gourmet shop.
24 canned escargots
2 shallots, finely minced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2/3 cup of butter, softened
Blend the butter, parsley, shallots and garlic in a food processor. Place one escargot in each shell and top with butter mixture. Cook in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbly. Serve with baguette slices for soaking up the butter sauce.
Wine suggestion: Chablis Premier Cru