Le Recamier’s fricassee of snails, one of its best dishes, gets even better in wild mushroom season: When they’re available, substitute chanterelles, cepes, 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 lb. assorted mushrooms, such as button, shiitake, or portobello
- Vegetable oil
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.