Snail Cocotte with Aniseed and Fine Herbs

For a delicious starter with as touch of the unusual, try Paul Bloxham's creamy baked snails with fine herbs and aniseed liqueur
By Paul Bloxham
Snail Cocotte with Aniseed and Fine Herbs
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 48 tinned snails
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 50 ml aniseed liqueur
  • 175 ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 plum tomatoes

For the salt pastry

  • 200 g flour
  • 50 g salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 8.

2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots and snails for a minute.

3. Add the carrot, celery, leek and garlic and continue to fry for a further minute. Pour in the aniseed liqueur and tip the pan to allow the liqueur to set alight.

4. When the flames have subsided, add the stock and cook until reduced by half - about 10 minutes. Stir in the crème fraiche, herbs and tomato and season to taste.

5. Divide the mixture between 6 small ramekins and leave on the side while you make the salt crust.

6. For the salt crust, mix the salt and flour together and add enough water to make a smooth dough.

7. With a palate knife, spread the top of the ramekins with the salt dough, brush with the beaten egg and water, and bake for 10 minutes, until risen and golden.

8. To serve, cut the pastry top off and discard. Eat the snail cocottes immediately.

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