Escargot Bourguignon… Clueless

While I have only had this dish a few times in my lifetime, I thought it was surprisingly delicious each time (even though my first time took a little convincing).

But I am more than ignorant about this ingredient… for instance I was under the impression these were all sea snails but it seems they are mostly land snails. So obviously, I’ve got some questions.

1.) What Kind of Snail Do You Use? I have read that canned can be as good (or better) as fresh. But other than that, no recipe/methods I have seen so far talk much about the snails themselves.

One of the highest rated products on Amazon is “Straight from France” has two varieties… but don’t really address the differences. Plus they’re both precooked. Are all canned snails precooked?

Another vendor… Great American Trading claims “There are 116 types of edible snails, and the Helix Burgundy snail originating from France is considered the world’s finest. Nicknamed the “Land Lobster”, it exhibits a similar texture to lobster, with an earthier flavor”.

2.) How Is It Best Served? Emeril cuts them in half and serves it up like a bowl of chili… others call for stuffing escargot shells with the snails and the garlic butter. Do the shells impart anything to the cook other than presentation?

Guess that’s it for now… looking forward to all of your comments.

I’ve only ever had escargots in the shell with garlic butter. Our local fishmonger sells them by the 3lbs bag for $63. They last in the freezer forever. Pretty sure they are the helix Burgundy snails, too.

I’ve never found them to have much inherent flavor and look at them more as vehicle to ingest obscene amounts of garlic butter.


We stayed with a family in Burgundy. The wife got up pre-dawn on a rainy morning to go “snailing”. She brought home maybe a peck of snails, which she covered loosely with newspaper before going back to bed. By the time she got up, all of the snail had left the box and were crawling up the wall of their house. She was not amused.

Her (classic) technique was to corral the snails for a period of time, like several weeks, feed them something to cleanse their systems, like cornmeal. Then they are boiled before final dressing.

Best scrounged in the wilds where chance of poisoning is remote,


Yes, anything canned is cooked in the canning process.


You can harvest garden snails to eat. Remember to purge them for a week or more. A friend’s mom used to collect snails from their yard and put them in a pail with a healthy layer of cornmeal - supposedly cleans them out REALLY well - so George could cook them for a family snack, with plenty of garlic and butter.

I have always preferred French Snails for Texture and Flavor. I have had ones from other places China springs to mind and they were mushy and tasteless.
I have never used or seen fresh Snails and as other have mentioned they take a lot time to get them ready to cook. And for the preparation that I prefer that is just to get you to the point that the canned Snails are already in.
Yes, all canned Snails are cooked.
Escargots à la Bourguignonne is how they are best served IMO. Make sure that your compound Butter contains plenty of FRESH Garlic, Herbs, White Wine, etc… and Pastis.
No the Shells are just for presentation, they add no flavor. If you use them make sure that they are completely dry inside and that the Snail Meats are also patted dry. This is important for safety, they can explode/shoot out from shells if there is Water in the Shell.

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Thanks! So I think I’ll skip the shells (haven’t decided whether there is an advantage to using an escargot plate yet). I have some nice little oblong casserole dishes I do scampi and coquilles St.-Jacques in… which will probably work fine for these (maybe lined with bacon laced spinach).

Looking forward to my first batch.

Can I assume from this that unused Helix Burgundys from a can will freeze well?

I have no idea.

I’m guessing from Natascha’s comments that she may be buying fresh frozen, and keeping them in that state.

As for canned, I don’t know why you couldn’t freeze half of them in a clean container, covered by the original packing liquor, assuming you had taken the first half out with a clean implement to avoid introducing too much in the way of contamination.

What I don’t know is how that would affect the texture. I know it’s not fish, but many types of fish don’t take freeze/thaw very well (especially freezing from fresh at home as most of us don’t have blast chillers) and can get mushy. But I think the snails would fare better than most fish. I’m tempted to open a can just to test it out. I can always thaw again tomorrow evening and make the escargot.

FWIW, I hope your brand is better on the QC front than mine (“Maitre Jacques”, and don’t remember where I got them but I’m sure they were cheaper than what you’re looking at). About every 4th or 5th can is sandy as heck. I get lulled into a false sense of security by several “good” cans, then get a bunch of grit the next time.

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Hmmm. Now I’ll have to check next time I’m at the fishmonger. Next year! :wink:

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Since asking that question I have found a couple of articles that say freezing is best done by extracting as much air as possible, and it will be good for up to three months. So it may be worthwhile to dust off my vacuum sealer.

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