Photo by Rosminah Brown

Classic French Escargots


This is based on a recipe in Molly Watson’s article “A Snail’s Tale: Stalking the Original Slow Food in a San Francisco Garden,” Edible San Francisco, Spring 2013.


If you have an escargot plate with depressions for each snail, you don’t need to use the shells.

4 cups water

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 dozen snail shells (more if they look fragile)

Bring water to a boil and add baking soda. Add snail shells and simmer about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the shells. Pat them dry, set them on a baking sheet or piece of foil and dry them in a hot oven.


2 dozen prepared snails (as described above)

1 small garlic clove

1 small shallot

12 cup flat parsley leaves

14 cup butter, softened

Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse garlic, shallot and parsley in a food processor until it’s almost paste-like. Stir into softened butter. Add plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Put a small amount of the butter into each shell. Stuff in a snail, and top it with as much additional butter as you can stuff into the shell.

When the shells are filled, set them in a small baking dish—you want the melted butter to stay with the snails—or into an escargot dish with individual wells for each snail.

Bake at 375° until the butter is melted and the snails are tender, about
15 minutes.

Use small forks or toothpicks to pick the snails from their shells and serve with plenty of bread to mop up the real star: the lightly snail-infused garlic-shallot-herb butter.