Stewed Snails with Mushrooms
SERVES 6 – 8
Le Récamier's fricassée of snails, one of its best dishes, gets even better in wild mushroom season: When they're available, substitute chanterelles, cèpes, or hedgehogs for the mushrooms suggested below.
FOR THE FRICASSÉE:
3 4.5-oz. cans snails, drained
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
2 cups dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh parsley,
1 bay leaf, 5 black peppercorns, 5 coriander seeds,
3 cloves, and 1 whole peeled garlic clove, wrapped and
tied in cheesecloth)
2 1/2 lbs. assorted mushrooms, such as button, shiitake,
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
FOR THE HERB BUTTER:
5 stemmed fresh spinach leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp. chopped fresh chervil
1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Simmer snails, onions, carrots, celery, wine, bouquet garni, and 4 cups water in a large saucepan over medium heat until snails are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside.
2. For herb butter, puree washed spinach, basil and butter in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate.
3. Trim and slice mushrooms. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook about 1/4 of the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until just brown, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander, set aside, and repeat, cooking mushrooms in batches, adding oil as needed.
4. Strain snails in a colander and discard vegetables and bouquet garni. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat, add garlic and shallots, cook for 1 minute, then stir in lemon juice and snails, and cook 1–2 minutes. Add cooked mushrooms and parsley and cook just until heated through. Adjust seasoning. Serve topped with melted herb butter.