Escargot – What it is and How You can Prepare It

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Snails, yuck!

With their long beady antennas for eyes and the trail of mucus they leave behind them, they are not something you would want in your garden. They eat and destroy plants and leave gaping holes in their wake, wrecking your flowers and plants.

So how do we get rid of them? Burn them? Spray them? Remove them? Poison them?

A waste! Why? Here’s an idea, stay with us for a bit and brace yourselves.

Why not………..eat them!  Yes, you heard us right. Eating snails or as they are called in the language of fine dining, Escargot, is more common than you may have imagined! And there are many fine dining restaurants in Myrtle Beach which are experts in making traditional Southern Cuisines. And Escargot is one of such southern cuisines which you must try!!!

But before that, let’s discuss more about what is Escargot & its benefits.

What is Escargot?

Escargot is a French word that literally means edible land snail. Mostly, land snails are consumed in Escargot but, sometimes, sea snails are also prepared to form a part of this delicacy’s family. Yes a delicacy, for it is considered as such in France and a wide variety of European countries.

Despite sounding like a recent culinary invention, the practice of eating snails is actually quite old. From Romans who considered it a food of status and wealth, it goes all the way back to the times when man used to live in caves. Despite our revulsion for snails, humanity has been munching on them for a long time now. It won’t be wrong to say that when it comes to eating snails, we have a love-and-hate affair with the idea.

Why Escargot?

The real question is why escargot is considered to be a delicacy. Is it just a predilection of the Europeans towards eating any weird thing under the sun or does it have backing in scientific facts? Interestingly, the answer lies in the latter option.

Snails are a very potent and healthy source for a variety of nutrients that are required by the human body to remain healthy and function properly. Firstly, snails are a great source of protein. While they may not offer as much protein like chicken, they are still listed above seafood in terms of the protein they provide. However, unlike chicken which also has fat, snails are virtually free of fats and carbohydrates. This means, by eating snails, you can get all the healthy calories and protein all at zero fat. This is all about the small European land snails. Their larger cousins in Africa can grow as big as your hand and are significant sources of substantial protein rather than just a snack. There are very few other sources of protein that can offer the same benefits!

Secondly, they are a rich source of minerals and nutrients vital for healthy functioning of the human body like iron, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, and omega 3 fatty acids. To get all that in such a small package with no side effect is a blessing for health-conscious individuals.

Thirdly, they are also good for your mental health and mood since they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is crucial for healthy sleeping patterns, as well as your overall mood, thus a plate of delicious snails is perfect for when you have the blues.

How to Prepare Escargot?

The preparation method depends on whether you are dealing with land snail or sea snails. Sea snails live in the sea so they don’t have impurities, toxins or other harmful substances like parasites. To prepare them you only need to boil them for an allotted period of time and drain them. This is done to remove the mucus, slime, and scum from them. After that, take them out of their shells by breaking the shell. Remove the stomach and… VOILA… fresh snail meat is ready to be cooked!

For land snails, the preparation process is a bit trickier. They live in deep, dark and damp places among rotting material and other such unsavory elements. They are exposed to feces, parasites, pathogens and toxins. Therefore, to prepare them, you need to collect a bunch of them and toss them in a jar. In that jar, provide them with clean staple diet, like carrot or cereal to purge their intestinal tracks.

This process will take anywhere from a week to 10 days. Once this is done you will need to deprive them of food for two days following which they will curl up into their shells and become sedentary. Now you can take them out, wash them thoroughly and then chuck them into a pot of boiling water for 4-5 minutes. During this time, you will need to collect and skim off the mucus and scum which rises to the top. After this is done, rinse them once again and you have fresh and edible snail meat.

Eating Escargot

There are many delicious and simple ways to eat escargot. However, if you are having it for the first time, it is recommended to try it at a fine dining restaurant. It will be prepared perfectly, how it ideally should be. This will ensure that the first bite of your first escargot experience truly lives up to the image of that soft, gooey, buttery, garlicky goodness touched by herbs and olive oil. Wine, particularly those with tangy and fruity notes, like Penya Rose, goes well with Escargot, in contrast with the buttery decadent smoothness of the snail.

If you want to try your hand at Escargot and are looking for fine dining restaurants in Myrtle Beach then consider Aspen Grille. With 5 years of experience in authentic Southern cuisine, you will get to try the real, locally sourced, fresh Escargot as the South likes to have it. With ‘half-off Wednesdays’ you can savor your escargot with that glass of wine at half the cost.

Book your reservation today and allow the full flavor of Southern cuisine to dazzle your taste buds.

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