Children playing outdoors... rollerblading on the streets, hopscotch on driveways and colored chalk on sidewalk.
Enter snail from stage left... slowly, patiently leaving behind its wake of sticky "footprints," a child's eye catches the reflection of sunlight, bouncing from the snails shell.
You know what happens next.
While snails may not resemble a gourmet meal upon first glimpse, refer to them as their French name, and suddenly everyone is praising escargot.
The traditional French preparation of escargot prescribes wild snails from the south of France, to be cooked in butter, garlic, parsley, shallots and white wine.
Living in Dallas, fresh escargot are not exactly "easy" to acquire. However, I have found that with the "right" preparation, canned variations can be made into a close-second.
First, purchase a can of escargot - the larger the snails, the better. Carefully rinse the escargot in order to help remove the "tinny" canned brine. In a medium saucepan, sauté diced shallots for about five minutes ("sweat" the shallots until they are no longer crunchy) in 1 Tbsp of ghee (clarified butter). (You may use regular butter if ghee is not available - although I prefer ghee, as it has a richer, more pronounced flavor). Add 2 tsp chopped garlic, then 1/4 cup of white wine (I prefer Chardonnay). Allow to boil and reduce by half of the volume. At this point, I will add a few drops of lemon juice, as well as 1 tsp lemon zest.
Since the canned escargot are already cooked, you simply need only to warm the snails in the reduced liquid. Place the snails in the sauce pan and toss in the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to slowly warm... In the meantime, cowardly chop parsley and mix into the sauce. In terms of plating, you may purchase an escargot portioned plate, or simply pour into a bowl. A fresh dusting of Parmesan cheese will do the final trick.
"Cheese -- milk's leap toward immortality" - Clifton Fadiman
Love y'all dearly!