Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eating escargot with ease

Today's blog post comes from Cindy, who has been traveling recently and hitting some escargot hot spots!  If you think eating snails sounds tricky, it is—but Cindy has some tips for us.

When in Rome (or France...)

Escargot, or snails, are absolutely France! Snail shells are grasped with a special holder, or escargot tongs, that your waiter will provide for you at the table.  You can see the tongs, which work like scissors, here in a red tin: 

A pick or oyster fork is provided, too.  With your left hand, pinch the holder and collapse the holder around the snail.  Using your right hand, you remove the meat with the small fork by pulling the meat from the shell.  The garlic butter remaining in the shell may be poured into the snail plate and sopped up with a small piece of French bread...ooh la la!  

 Do it this way! Mais oui!

Now, that sounds very simple doesn't it?  But it took me about three times to get comfortable...and look French...while eating escargot!  Here is what you don't do:

  Bad form: Do NOT do it this way. Non, non, non.

If you grasp the tongs and then collapse them firmly around the snail, you cannot pinch the tongs or your snail will drop out of the tongs.  Are you getting the picture?  Sometimes it lands on your plate, or off your plate, or across the table.  I should have known better...after all I've watched Pretty Woman several times!

Eating escargot properly can be tricky because the snail shell is a little slippery and the snail is most reluctant to come out.  It takes some angled positioning to get the shell and the snail apart from each other.  And, it is so worth it!  

 Pulling the snail from the shell.

There are some contrary opinions about how to convey the sopped up French bread in the garlic butter.  I had read that it was done with the fork in the right hand.  But, in watching other diners around me, most people would place their utensils down and use their hands to pinch off a small piece of bread, sop it in the garlic butter, and bring it to their mouth. And it tastes heavenly!  

You'll see escargot listed in menus as an appetizer, served 6 or 12 at a time. On recent travels, I tried to eat them every single day, and I can say I was successful! And, I got really good at it...eventually! When in France — or a French restaurant anywhere — remember these tips and try escargot!

No comments:

Post a Comment