Stewed Snails with Mushrooms

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.

Stewed Snails with Mushrooms
When they're available, substitute chanterelles, cepes, or hedgehogs for the mushrooms suggested in this recipe.
Yield: serves 6-8

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 12 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
  • 14 cup chopped fresh parsley

For the Herb Butter

  • 5 stemmed fresh spinach leaves
  • 13 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 12 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

Instructions

  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 12 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 14 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.