I've made my first video to serve as a precursor to this post. I hope it illustrates how easy it is to make Pasta a la Escargot.
(Click on the picture below to play)
After reading the Huffington Post article Surviving Whole Foods, I was inspired to throw on a pair of yoga paints, snatch up my pile of seldom-used reusable bags, and drive to my local Whole Foods. I’ll be totally frank - I drank the cool-aid. Despite the alleged pretentiousness of some its patrons, I’m head over heals for Whole Foods.
I was wandering the isles, stuffing my face with samples of blackened Mahi Mahi and Bella Vitano cheese, when I remembered one of my favorite Whole Foods offerings, escargot.
Prior to purchasing Whole Food’s escargot, I had only eaten tiny, overcooked morsels of rubbery snail - a food, which no amount of butter and garlic could save. It was my friendly Whole Foods fishmonger who first suggested that I try preparing their herb-butter filled escargot at home; it would only take about 5 minutes in the oven. I was skeptical but was under the Whole Foods spell. It didn’t take much convincing before I was walking out of the store with bag of neatly packaged shells, feeling quite adventurous.
I cooked the escargot exactly as suggested: preheat the oven to 350 degrees, toss in the escargot, and when the butter is melted it is done. What emerged from the hot shells were tender pieces of meat that reminded me of beautifully cooked octopus or squid. The melted herb-butter added a rich decadence that helped me finally understand why this mollusk is beloved around the world.
There was so much delicious butter left on the plate that I thought it was a shame to let it go to waste. With a quick boil of pasta and a few simple additions, Pasta a la Escargot was born. This is a simple, yet elegant dish that's as easy as boiling pasta.
Pasta a la Escargot
10 herb-butter filled escargot - from Whole Foods (you can fill the shells with softened butter yourself if they are not pre-filled)
½ package linguini
Handful of chopped parsley or basil (or both)
1 – 2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
Parmesan cheese (to taste, but I like a lot)
This is more a method than a true recipe. You can alter any of the ingredients to suit your own taste.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil the linguini according to the instructions on the package, then drain.
- Put the escargot in an oven-proof dish and put in the pre-heated oven. Once the butter in the escargot has melted (about 5 minutes), remove from the oven.
- Add the cooked noodles in with the escargot and melted butter.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the noodles and escargot. Add chopped herbs, capers, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss.
- Finish with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese, and viola, dinner is served.