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Snips and snails and puppy dog tails; that's what little boys are supposedly made of. Considering the number of requests for this dish I have to deal with from Rich, I can easily believe that by now he is a good 25% snail. Whenever there is a special meal to be made and he chooses the starter, l'escargot it is. Some people may balk at the slimy little critters, but really there is nothing to it and once you get past the thought of 'snail' you can just enjoy the deep salty meatiness - especially when it's covered with heart stopping amounts of garlic butter, as these are.

My new Mother-in-law bought me these snazzy little escargot dishes for Christmas, so I felt it was time to put them to good use. I completely and utterly cheated and picked up some ready cooked snails from my favourite shop, Hampstead Butcher & Providores. They come in a can of around 24 ready to eat snails and they usually cost somewhere between £6-10. I've also bought them from the various French stalls at Borough Market before, but if you can't get to either of those locations easily then I suggest you purchase online - there are loads of online retailers. Pick yourself up some confit canard and foie gras whilst you're at it if your conscience allows.

Anyway, once you have procured yourself the cheats snails, its just a matter of placing one in each of the crevices and applying liberal amounts of good French butter, crushed garlic and finely chopped parsley. I sprinkled with polenta for a bit of crunch too, or breadcrumbs would also be good. Grill until bubbling and delicious.

Serve to your open minded friends and enjoy!

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