Ludo Lefebvre Teaches You The Ways of Escargot
In the season premiere of Ludo à la Maison, Ludo Lefebvre shares his recipe for a dish so close to home, it's tattooed on his hands. "This is me," he says of escargot, which also make up the logo of his restaurant Petit Trois, in part because of their status in his hometown of Burgundy—"escargot's pretty ugly, but people like it"
While "people don't do much escargot at home," Ludo says, it's so easy and fast that you certainly can. He starts by mixing the butter in a stand mixer (though you can do it by hand), then adds ingredients to make a compound butter. "Fresh garlic is key," says Ludo, along with shallots, which "we use a lot of in Burgundy," kosher salt, white pepper, nutmeg seasoning, chopped parsley, and white wine, which has to be dry.
Once it starts to mix "very well," Ludo moves to the escargot. He recommends buying the shell separately, since it's already clean, and using Burgundy snails, which are "very big," because, he winks "everything in Burgundy is very big." "Size matters," he emphasizes, "you don't want small escargot, you want big escargot."
Ludo lines the pan with a crumpled sheet of tinfoil, which acts as a mold that keeps the shells facing straight up. Using a pastry bag, he fills the shell with some of the "very soft" butter, while revealing yet another secret of good escargot butter: "French butter." He puts a little bit of butter into the shell before adding the snail, which he says to push in so we can see it "a little bit," then adds more butter.
The key, according to Ludo, is to cook them "very fast, at very high temperature," so that the butter will boil, the garlic is cooked, and the butter then fries, since "when you fry, you get a lot of flavor." Since snails are "very rubbery," Ludo says, this frying makes them "a little bit crispy." He cooks the escargot for about five minutes at 475 degrees, so that when they come out, they're "swimming" in the bubbling butter, which "becomes like a brown butter, with a little bit of hazelnut flavor." He eats the escargots with his escargot fork, then drinks the butter, before attempting to figure out how many he can eat in one minute. The answer? "A lot."