At New York City's Compass Restaurant, Executive Chef Mark Andelbradt says. " I really search for the Burgundian snail–they're a little larger, a little bit meatier. You're getting a lot of terroir and flavor of their particular environment." Andelbradt currently purchases from Potironne in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
"We use ingredients that are on the same playing field with the snail," he points out. "They're all very earthy." Takeoffs on his basic recipe include Snail and Wild Mushroom Vol-au-Vent ($12 as a small plate) made with chanterelles and served in puff pastry with garlic and deglazed chicken jus, wine, and black truffle jus.
Andelbradt and Diamantis praise the adaptability of land snails. "They tend to be able to absorb other flavors well." says Andelbradt, who also believes, "it's an ingredient thats more versatile than people think." He suggests that the snail's modest reputation could be due more to chefs rigidly applying traditions: "over time, the snail has been kind of abused by garlic, parsley, butter, and that ceramic crock...That's all some people think about when they think about snails."
It's up to the chef to be creative enough to come up with something that sells." Andelbradt says that listing the snail's place of origin can aid in-house marketing. "People realize that a quality region like Burgundy creates a quality product. It tells the customer that you're using something special."
We use snails to build a backbone for a plate.