Walnuts can be a problem, because so often they’re either dry or old. French housewives have two tricks for reviving them: soak them in sugared water or hot milk overnight, or gently toast them in a skillet to release their natural oils.–Paula Wolfert
Snails with Walnuts Recipe
Hands-On Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes | Serves 4
- 1 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- One 7 1/2-ounce can snails (24 large snails)
- 3 tablespoons dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons chopped fines herbes (see Note)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1. Place the crème fraîche in a funnel lined with a paper coffee filter and let drain until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 3 hours. Or boil the heavy cream until reduced to 3/4 cup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- 2. Drain the snails and toss them with the wine in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them.
- 3. Place 3 tablespoons of the softened butter in a shallow bowl and cream with a wooden spoon. Gradually work in the fines herbes, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate the seasoned butter. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 hours in advance.)
- 4. Shortly before serving, melt the remaining butter in medium skillet over moderate heat; stir in the walnuts and reduce the heat to low. Cook, tossing, until the walnuts are aromatic, about 3 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche or heavy cream. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the snails and wine; heat through. Do not allow to boil, or the snails will toughen. Remove from the heat.
- 5. Swirl in the seasoned butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is thick and well blended. Return the skillet to low heat to reheat gently, 15 to 20 seconds; overheating will cause the sauce to separate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 6. Spoon 6 snails into each of 4 hot ramekins; divide the sauce equally among them. Serve immediately.
Note: Fines herbes is a mixture of fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil. At least 2 of the herbs should be fresh and the others can be dried if fresh are not available.
Snails with Walnuts Recipe © 1983 and 2005 Paula Wolfert. All rights reserved.