Recipe: Crusty baguette escargot bites by Charlie Abowd
I love July! It is, of course, the month of my birth, and it is also the time that our Third & Curry St. Farmers Market goes into full swing with an array of growers selling everything imaginable (no, not that!).
And of course, July 12 we will have what is considered one of the best annual parties and community gatherings, Concert Under the Stars, A Benefit for the Greenhouse Project, moving this year to the Brewery Arts Center.
Where we live, play and connect with others extends my own celebration of greater wisdom. Not to be presumptuous, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 65 years, it is that remaining in touch with one’s inner child is key to creating a joyful life. So, if your little person has by chance escaped, I encourage each of you to rediscover and embrace that little person.
So now …
Under the direction of Linda Marrone, the farmers market is the perfect place to find everything, except the escargot, needed for the following recipe.
Trust me, the tastes and smells you experience using freshly-harvested ingredients are brighter and more intense. My go-to garlic guy is Arnold Carbone, who co-owns Glorious Garlic Farms with his wife, Rusty. He grows many varieties, and I encourage you all to contact him for all your garlic needs. It has also come to my attention that he has garlic seeds available for those wanting to grow their own. Garlic just adds something special to cooking, and we are fortunate to use Arnold’s garlic year round both at home and at the restaurant. For information, email email@example.com, or call 775-220-2415.
We are formally in our ninth year of Concert Under the Stars as a Benefit for The Greenhouse Project. Nine years! The fun started 12 years ago because I love music and wanted a way to bring the community together around something fun we could collectively enjoy.
It is exciting to be hosting The Family Stone with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood. The fact both bands are in their 50th year is a testament to the talent and quality of their music.
Now an aside.
When I was attending high school, I played football, and there was to be a mixer one night. I came off the practice field and could hear a band in the gym doing sound check. They were tight and funky. Curious, rather than going into the locker room, I meandered into the gym to see the band that was playing the mixer that night (try telling the youngsters we actually had live bands at our dances, and you will be met with a mix of jealousy and disbelief, trust me).
The band was Cold Blood. As I stood there listening, out came this itty-bitty woman who stepped up to the mic and promptly began belting out a James Brown song. I don’t remember which song it was, but I closed my eyes and would have sworn it was James up there.
That was my introduction to Lydia Pense, who is really a goddess and a legend, and I’m thrilled to get to see her perform again.
While part of me is sad to see Concert Under the Stars leave the Adele’s location for the Brewery Arts Center, I am very pleased the event has grown beyond our ability to physically accommodate the crowd.
The Greenhouse Project is where miracles happen every day.
As Ian Sorenson of KTHX said during a recent on-air interview with my partner in life, Karen, “I had no idea how widespread (TGP’s work) … you’re not just feeding the hungry, you’re doing a lot of things.”
That sums it up. The Greenhouse Project, supported solely by donations and fundraising and the generous and loving hearts of each of you, accomplishes myriad positives for Carson City. Your purchase of a ticket to see The Family Stone and Lydia Pense & Cold Blood continues that work. Tickets range from $25 (bleacher/SRO which means you are not guaranteed a place to sit), $45, $55 and $65, all reserved. I encourage you to visit http://www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org to reserve your spot for a fantastic evening, or go in person to the Brewery Arts box office or Carson City Visitors Bureau, where staff can assist you personally.
I encourage you to reserve your spot! Now, let’s head into the kitchen!
Crusty Baguette Escargot Bites
Serves 6; to serve 12, double ingredients
Escargot (cans may be purchased at Raley’s and come in six or 12 count)
2 tablespoons sweet red onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon green onion or scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound butter (I prefer Amish or Irish butter, Kerrygold is a great brand, and both these varieties come from grass-fed cows)
1/2 pound freshly-grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago, or use a blend of all three
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (curly-leaf will work, but Italian parsley has sweeter flavor and less chlorophyll)
1 12-inch baguette
Cut the baguette into slices 1 1/2 inches thick. Once sliced, use a melon baller (or a teaspoon or demispoon) to gently, from the cut center of each slice, remove the bread, leaving a hole approximately 3/4-inch deep. You are creating a divot into which the escargot will seat.
Place prepped slices on a very lightly buttered baking sheet. Lightly brush each baguette slice with a teaspoon of butter and place all in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until crunchy and very light brown. Pull out of the oven, and set aside at least one hour.
To make the compound butter, place 1/4 pound of butter, 1/4 pound of the grated cheese and 1 tablespoon of the sweet red onion and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) each of the green onion or scallion and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Remove ingredients from the food processor and place into another bowl and set aside. There is no need to refrigerate.
Open the can of escargot and thoroughly rinse, drain and set aside.
In a small (six-inch) saucepan, slowly melt 1/4 pound of butter (less what was used to oil baking pan and brush baguettes). Add the remaining garlic and bring to a slow simmer for two or three minutes. Add escargot to the saucepan and bring up to warm/medium warm temperature, approximately two to three minutes. Overheating will cause the escargot to become tough and chewy.
Using a small spoon, “seat” one escargot in each of the baguette medallions. Turn on the broiler. If you do not have a broiler, turn on the oven as high as it will go.
Then take the compound butter and place a 1/2-inch mound over the entire top of the baguette medallions. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and parsley.
Place in the broiler or oven for 10 minutes or until they look slightly brown, melty and cheesy, then remove from oven. Every oven and broiler is different, so adjust accordingly. Set aside and allow to cool, finally placing on a serving platter.
Give each medallion three or four twists of fresh ground pepper.
I recommend serving these with a white Rhône-style wine, either French or domestic or a sauvignon blanc. If you desire or prefer a beer selection, I recommend an IPA.
Chef Charlie Abowd co-owns Café at Adele’s with his wife Karen Abowd. Café at Adele’s is located at 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City, and is open daily at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information or to makes reservations, call 775-882-3353, or visit adelesrestaurantandlounge.com.