Seasoning for Escargot

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Many cultures have variations of the french snail dish, escargot.
Many cultures have variations of the french snail dish, escargot. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Escargot, a French culinary delicacy with a name meaning "snail," can be served fresh, chilled, frozen or canned. The snail has been eaten throughout history and throughout the world. The ancient Romans ate them during festivals, and edible species are found in Africa, Europe and the United States. Each region and culture prepares the snails with different methods and recipes.

French Snails

French style chefs prepare escargot using simple recipes and minimal ingredients such as: butter, garlic, parsley and shallots. Sometimes white wine is added. The ingredients are combined together and baked into the snails. Recipes that include wine may call for the snails to be marinated for two to three hours before cooking or baking. French style snails are served with a slice of lemon for squeezing and a French bread or baguette, which the diner may dip into the butter or marinade after the meal.

Asian Snail Stir Fry

Recipes from some cultures combine snails with other meats and hearty ingredients such as mushrooms and eggs. Asian-inspired cooks prepare snails in a stir fries with rice, egg and spices like red chili, ginger and Chinese parsley. Common vegetables added to snail stir fries include: onions, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. While french recipes are minimal and focused on the natural flavors of the snail, Asian style recipes are geared more toward mixing the tastes of a variety of food items

African Snail Stew

Some recipes combine snails in stews, such as Sheba Stew, which calls for Giant African Snails that can grow up to 12 inches. The snails are pressure cooked with onions, water, salt, oil and tomato paste. Before they are added to the pressure cooker the snails are removed from their shells and sliced symmetrically in half, which is different from the french style of preparation in which they are baked inside the shell, and the Asian technique in which they are skewed or stir fried whole.

Italian Snail Patsa

The Italian inspired escargot with fettuccine uses the same crucial ingredients as the French recipe--butter, garlic and snails. It differs from the french recipe because it adds pasta as the base of the dish, leaving the snails become a secondary ingredient. The Italian recipe adds a sauce of heavy cream and Parmesan, which is absorbed by all the ingredients including the snails. Vegetables such as mushrooms, peas and bite-sized broccoli can also be added to this dish, which is topped with pepper and served with Italian bread.

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