My first meal in France was in a little restaurant in Paris. I ordered a bottle of wine and a serve of snails cooked in butter, garlic and parsley. They were so good that I didn’t think I’d ever find tastier snails in France — until I tried my cousin’s Vietnamese version.
- 24 fresh snails, in their shells
- 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1 small handful Thai basil leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 315 g (11 oz/1 cup) rock salt
- warmed baguettes, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 30 minutes
Remove the snails from their shells. Wash both the snails and their shells in salted water, leaving them to soak for 10 minutes before rinsing under cold water. Repeat this process three times.
Set the snails and the shells aside. In a food processor, blitz together the butter, garlic, coriander, Thai basil, sea salt and black pepper. Remove from the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at cool room temperature to allow the flavours to develop.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Sprinkle the rock salt over a baking tray. Fill each snail shell with ½ teaspoon of the herb butter. Place a snail in each shell, pushing it into the butter. Use the remaining herb butter to fill up the shells. Place the shells in the rock salt on the tray, butter side up. Transfer to the oven and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until the butter is sizzling hot and bubbling. Serve with warm baguettes.
Recipe from Luke Nguyen’s France, by Luke Nguyen, with photography by Alan Benson (Hardie Grant, hbk, $59.99).
View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.
For recipes and web-exclusives from Luke's French adventure, visit the Luke Nguyen's France website here.