Paris House snail garden

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The snail garden recipe has become something of a signature dish at Phil Fanning's restaurant Paris House and was inspired by his childhood holidays in France. Phil Fanning says: "The original version of this dish was a garlic and parsley number which was obviously inspired by the most classical French garnish. I have had snails many times whilst travelling around France and with this classic garnish, done properly, they are delicious. So when we stumbled across Aylesbury Escargot, it made sense to bring these flavours together."

First published in 2015




Braised snails

Snail caviar


Snail sauce

Charcoal smoke oil

Confit chicory hearts

Onion seed mousse

  • 8g of onion seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 white onions, thinly sliced
  • 100g of milk
  • 450g of whipping cream
  • 5 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
  • 450g of potatoes, cooked and lighly crushed
  • 110g of crème fraîche
  • vegetable oil

Onion purée

Baby onion petals

Cauliflower crisp

Chicory tips

Shaved candy beetroot


  • Food processor or blender
  • Mandoline
  • Silicon baking mat
  • Muslin cloth
  • Squeezy bottle
  • Fine chinoise
  • Dehydrator
  • Catering grade cling film
  • Sous vide equipment
  • Thermomix
  • Meat slicer


First, make the 'dirt'. Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender for approximately 10-12 minutes. Strain and roughly mash until flattened, then place in a dehydrator for 24 hours until completely dry
Preheat the oven to 175˚C/gas mark 3.5
Weigh out 100g of dried potato and blend with the chicory root to form a powder. Combine the powder with the pine nuts, sugar, salt, flour and butter until the mix comes together. Spread out on a silicone mat and bake in the oven until it sticks together when squeezed, like fresh breadcrumbs
Roll the mix between your hands to separate and form a soil-like consistency. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container until required
Preheat the oven to 110°C/gas mark 1/4
To braise the snails, wash the snails thoroughly and dry well in a clean tea towel or with kitchen paper. Add a thin film of vegetable oil to a large pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add all the vegetables and garlic and cook until dark golden in colour
Once the vegetables are browning, reduce the wine by 3/4 in a separate saucepan. Remove the vegetables from the pan, add a fresh dash of vegetable oil and seal off the snails for 2-3 minutes
  • 350g of white wine
  • vegetable oil
Add the vegetables back to the pan with the bay, thyme, peppercorns, reduced wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then decrease to a gentle simmer and cover with a cartouche
Place in the oven to braise for 4-5 hours, or until tender. Remove and pour into a large, deep tray to cool and reserve 250ml of the liquid for the sauce. Vac pac to store and refrigerate until required
For the snail sauce, heat a dash of vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Caramelise the shallots until golden, then remove from the pan and repeat with the button mushrooms
Add the red wine to a small pan and simmer until reduced to 250ml. Add the shallots and wine to the browned mushrooms along with the reserved braising liquid, garlic and stock
Bring to a rolling boil and reduce by half. During this process, add the tarragon stalks for 10 minutes to infuse. Skim off any impurities and pass through a fine strainer lined with muslin, season with sherry vinegar to finish
To make the charcoal smoke oil, vac pac all of the ingredients in bag and cook in a waterbath at 80°C for 2 hours. Transfer the oil into a flat tray and cold-smoke over fresh charcoal. Set aside until ready to use
For the confit chicory hearts, snap off the outer leaves from each heart, submerge in half of the charcoal smoke and set aside. Use a small knife to tidy up any of the rough edges at the base of the remaining hearts
Double vac pac all of the ingredients and place in a water bath at 80°C for 2 hours. Remove and cool immedietly in an ice bath. Remove the hearts from the bag, cut in half lengthways and caramelise in a hot pan on the cut-side until golden. Remove and set aside until required
To start the onion seed mousse, slowly sweat off the sliced onion in a little vegetable oil until very soft and tender but not coloured - this should take 20-30 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside
Heat the milk and 150g of whipping cream with the toasted onion seeds for 3 minutes, then pass through a fine strainer. Add the softened gelatine, whisk to dissolve and transfer to a food processor with the potato, onion, crème fraîche and milk mixture
  • 150g of whipping cream
  • 100g of milk
  • 8g of onion seeds, lightly toasted
  • 5 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
  • 450g of potatoes, cooked and lighly crushed
  • 110g of crème fraîche
Pour into a suitable container and place in the fridge to cool to room temperature. Whip 300g of whipping cream until soft peaks form and gently fold into the cool potato mix. Taste, adjust the seasoning accordingly and return to the fridge to set
  • 300g of whipping cream
For the onion purée, you will need to cook the onions Lyonnaise-style. Add oil and bay to a heavy-based pan, cover with cling film and place over a low heat. Once the oil is hot, pull back the cling film and add the onions. Then, cover again with cling film and slowly caramelise the onions for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Meanwhile, add the dried ceps to 500ml of water and allow to soften for 1 hour
Add the rehydrated ceps and their water to a pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the whipping cream and cook for an additional 10 minutes
  • 300g of whipping cream
Remove and discard the bay leaf from the onions and transfer to a thermomix or high powered blender with the 300ml of water, butter and seasoning. Blitz until very smooth, add a pinch of xanthan gum and store in a squeezy bottle until required
Wash the fennel seeds and rapeseed and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Strain, spread on some kitchen paper to begin sprouting, and after 12 hours repeat once more before using
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
For the baby onion petals, place the yellow-skinned onions on a bed of salt and roast in the oven until sweet and cooked all the way through - this should take approximately 1 hour
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut in half, peel off the outer skins and separate the flesh into individual petals. Store in the remaining charcoal smoke oil until required
To make the cauliflower crisp, slice the cauliflower on setting 1 of a meat slicer and blanch the thin slices in salted boiling water for 10-20 seconds, then refresh in ice water. Lay flat on a lined oven tray and cook at 90°C until crispy, approximately 45-60 minutes
Meanwhile, prepare the chicory tips and shaved candy beetroot. Cut the red and yellow chicory leaves into small triangles and store in ice water to crisp up
Similarly, with the candy beetroot, peel the beetroot, making sure to keep its natural shape. Cut off the tip and shave on a mandoline as thinly as possible. Store in ice water
Before serving, reheat the snails gently in some of the sauce until warm
Add a spoonful of the onion mousse to the centre of each bowl and cover with the "dirt". Add a few of the warm snails around the bowl along with the germinating fennel seeds and rapeseeds
Add the beetroot, chicory (both confit and tips), cauliflower, onion pearls and dollops of onion purée to each bowl. Finally, add a little more sauce to the snails and garnish with some snail caviar, edible flowers and salad leaves. Serve immediately
First published in 2015

Phil Fanning remains one of the brightest, most interesting chefs of the British food scene, creating beautiful, intricate plates of food at the magnificent Paris House in Woburn Abbey.

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