escargot in mushroom caps
This dish in inspired by the novel The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino. The story begins with Cosimo, a 12 year old boy, born of Italian nobility, who is fed up with the structure and formalities of his family. One evening, after refusing to eat the snails served at dinner, he vows to spend the rest of his life above ground and among the trees. From then on, Cosimo leads an adventurous and full life of self-sufficiency from the comfort of his arboreus home. Residing within the trees throughout Italy, he joins the army, pursues romantic relationships, spies on politicians, and watches his family from afar. In the end, however, the further he removes himself from common life, the more he helps those that mean the most to him... All stemming from the refusal to eat his dinner of escargot.
I've had escargot before. I had them in a beautiful, amazing restaurant while visiting my sister in Montreal. Of course, they had already been made up and covered in delicious sauce and garlic and butter. It really never struck me exactly WHAT I was eating. Just yummy goodness.
Betsy, on the other hand, only ever experienced escargot on a cruise ship. Poor girl. She was definitely not so hot on this recipe idea... perhaps one of the only times we here at Whisk + Brush have had opposing interest in a new dish.
But then this little recipe happened. I've wanted to try my hand at escargot for a while now, but I didn't realize it would take more kitchen confidence than usual.
Here's my reassurance for you.
1) You can do it. They're already dead.
2) Seeing them in the can is worst part. Get past it quickly.
3) Once they're sautéing in the pan with butter and garlic and the delicious smells start to waft around the kitchen, you'll forgot what you were so concerned about just a few minutes ago.
But here's the real kicker. 4) These are unbelievably delicious!
The mushrooms are the perfect texture to pair alongside the escargot and the cheese – ah, the cheese! When does cheese NOT make something better?! Dare I say, even better than what I had in the restaurant. In my opinion, if we served this dish to Cosimo, that novel would have played out very, very differently.
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled + whole
15-20 baby bella mushroom caps
1 can escargot, drained + rinsed
1/2 c Monterey cheese, shredded
squeeze of lemon
parsely for garnish, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350º. De-stem the mushrooms.
Drained and rinse the escargot. (YOU CAN DO IT! Breeeeath... Show those snails who's boss!)
In a large sauce pan, melt butter over med-hi heat. Add garlic and mushroom caps, topside down. Sauté the mushrooms topside up for 3-4 minutes. Flip mushroom caps and add in the escargot. Sauté for 4-6 mins.
Transfer the mushrooms to an oven-safe dish and place topside down. Ensemble your escargot inside the caps. Spoon the butter + garlic mixture from the pan over the sets of escargot and mushrooms. Add a squeeze of lemon.
Sprinkle generously with cheese and s+p.
No, no. Keep going with the cheese. MORE CHEESE!
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
Sprinkle parsley and serve with crusty bread to soak up the remaining butter + garlic. YOU DID IT! Revel in your accomplishment and pair your meal with a big, cold glass of white wine. You deserve it. Now who's the baddest cook in the kitchen?!