Mussels, escargot style. Photo courtesy
Escargots don’t have much flavor. What brings them to life is the vibrant garlic-parsley butter, known in French cuisine as beurre maître d’hôtel butter.
It’s a popular compound butter that’s used on fish, meat, noodles, potatoes, vegetables and you-name-it. It’s delicious year around, and ushers in spring with its bright hue.
Substitute the escargots for mussels, as this inspired recipe from Millesime restaurant in New York City shows, and serve it as a first course.
The only challenge is to decide what dishes you have to serve it in—most of us don’t have escargot dishes. But as you can see in the photo, anything will work. Have Champagne coupes? Time to use them for other than Champagne.
We’ve suggested extra toast, below, because most people will want to soak up every last drop of the butter sauce.
Going forward, we’ll use the American name for the butter sauce, sparing those who don’t speak French the need to pronounce beurre maître d’hôtel butter (burr meh-TRUH doe-TELL).
RECIPE: MUSSELS IN GARLIC PARSLEY BUTTER
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. MAKE the garlic parsley butter. Keep on the stove.
2. REMOVE mussels and beards from shells; rinse and sauté lightly in butter.
3. MAKE the toast and slice into quarters. Warm garlic parsley butter sauce as necessary.
4. ASSEMBLE and serve: Fill dish with butter sauce, add six mussels and serve with toast points.
5. REFRIGERATE any remaining garlic parsley butter for other use, including garlic bread.
RECIPE: GARLIC PARSLEY BUTTER
1. PULSE all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a microwave-safe dish or small pitcher.
2. KEEP on or near stove if making the mussels for immediate consumption. Otherwise, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. HEAT before serving.
Garlic parsley butter, a compound butter known in French cuisine as maitre d’hotel butter. Photo courtesy Brown Eyed Baker.
WHAT IS COMPOUND BUTTER
Compound butter is preparation that combines unsalted butter with flavorful ingredients: fruits, herbs, nuts, spices and/or other savory ingredients (anchovies, capers, mustard, olives, etc.).
It is often used in French cooking to create an instant sauce for anything from grilled steak to sautéed chicken and fish to vegetables; it is also stirred into soups and stews for added flavor.
In the U.S., popular compound butters include strawberry butter for muffins, chipotle butter for corn on the cob, and perhaps the most familiar, garlic butter for garlic bread.
Here’s more on compound butter, plus recipes.