The thought of eating snails might be upsetting at the first instance, but when it is prepared and garnished properly, it brings a delicious taste to the mouth. Escargot is a popular cuisine in French restaurants prepared by cooking edible and helix-shaped large land snails. It is also known as helix pomatia.
This dish is commonly prepared as an appetizer or main dish in Mediterranean and European countries. While the snail is delicious on its own, It is usually cooked with a combination of garlic, curry powder, thyme, butter, garlic, parsley, and pine nuts.
What does escargot taste like? The flavor and texture of escargot are similar to that of seafood like a clam or an oyster. When prepared well, it has a sweet, chewy, and earthy flavor with a little tone of mushroom. The garlic and butter added to it gives it a buttery and spicy taste.
Some food enthusiasts believe escargot tastes like fish or chicken. Preparing it with different ingredients or sauce will give it a distinct taste due to the snail’s ability to take on the flavor of the sauce it is being coated or prepared with.
The snails used in preparing the dish are not easily found in the garden. Attention must be duly paid when hunting for this species of snail. Escargot is a delicious cuisine with a lot of health benefits.
Nutritional Benefit of Escargot
Helix pomatia provides the body with the required amount of protein needed daily. This helps in strengthening the muscles for different activities and keeps the stomach filled for a long period. The French cuisine contains 1.3 grams of total fat per 3-ounce serving and 0.3 grams of saturated fat which has been proven to help in reducing and maintaining healthy body weight.
It can help to reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. A 4-ounce serving of escargot contains minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium that improve healthy bones, avoid the risk of heart disease and helps keep the blood pressure low. The iron content of escargot helps in relieving the symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia.
Similar to fish, escargots are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health and reduce the risk of dying from heart diseases. It also fosters the smooth operation of the circulatory system by reducing blood clotting and keeps the heartbeat steady. Additionally, it contains selenium which helps the formation of white blood cells that help the body fight against infections.
It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids that are beneficial to the eye. High consumption of escargot helps avoid eye defects associated with old age like macular degeneration and also improves sight in people who suffer from inflammation of different layers of the eye.
Escargot is an excellent choice for people who love to smoke. Its constituent includes compounds that help reduce the content of nicotine in the body. It also helps in avoiding the risk of chronic respiratory diseases like lung cancer. The dish contains N-alkylistins that prevent, kill, and protect various organs of the body from the growth and effect of cancer cells.
Culinary Uses of Escargot
Escargot can be coated with or cooked with several ingredients to give it a tastebud-friendly taste. The skin and texture of helix snail which is the main ingredient in preparing the dish are soft, making it easy for it to soak in the flavor of several sauces.
It can either be served in its shell or removed. It is commonly made with parsley and garlic butter. Rub the escargot meat in butter and allow it to cook in a sauté pan. After cooking, serve it with loaves of bread, herbs, and cheese to soak up the goodness of its taste.
Where Did Escargot Originate From? How Do You Procure It?
The starter dish is common in Mediterranean countries like Cyprus, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, and Portugal. Some people believe the myth that states that snails were being consumed by people in this region during times of famine and hunger. The escargot was derived from the Latin word ‘conchylium’ which means edible shellfish or oyster.
The origin of the dish can be dated back to the 19th century. Apicius was the first cookbook ever published that mentioned the procedure for the preparation and consumption of snails. In ancient Rome, it was recorded that escargot was an elite food as the snails were fed with wine before cooking them.
Some believe the dish was brought into the menu of restaurants in the United States of America by immigrants who missed the dish from France and decided to replicate it. You prepare the dish from the comfort of your house or get it from French restaurants around you.
To prepare it, get canned helix snails from the grocery store or pick them up in your garden. Make sure the snails are cooked properly to prevent the risk of foodborne diseases. You can remove them from their can or shell and cook in garlic, butter, and wine or broil the mixture of snail and sauce together if you would be cooking it directly in their shells.
You can freeze canned or cooked helix snails that are used to prepare escargot to maintain its flavor, quality, and taste. However, it shouldn’t be left in there for too long as it can get spoiled over time.
How are Snails Killed for Escargot?
The mode of killing and duration after killing an animal for food affects how it tastes after it is being cooked. Helix snails purchased from the grocery store are already killed and preserved for future usage. The snail sold to restaurants and those gotten from the garden might still very much be alive and needed to be killed to make it enable. You can do this by plunging them into boiling water.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Escargot
- In 1980, the sales from escargot represented a $300 million estimate a year business in the United States of America
- National Escargot day is celebrated in the US annually on May 24.