Escargot is a dish of cooked land snails, normally as an appetizer in France and in French restaurants. The word escargot is also sometimes put on the living snails of those species which are typically eaten in this way.
Not all types of land snail are edible, and numerous are too small to make it worthwhile to prepare and make them. Even among the edible species, the palatability of the flesh differs from species to species. In France, the species Helix pomatia is most often consumed. The "petit-gris" Helix aspersa is likewise consumed, as is Helix lucorum. A number of extra species, such as Elona quimperiana, are popular in Europe.
Preparation: In French culture, the snails are usually purged and removed from their shells, and cooked (typically with garlic butter, chicken stock or wine), and then positioned back into the shells with the butter and sauce for serving. Additional components could be added, such as garlic, thyme, parsley and nuts. Special snail tongs (for holding the shell) and snail forks (for extracting the meat) are also typically supplied, and they are served on indented metal trays with areas for 6 or 12 snails. Like many molluscs, escargot is high in protein and low in fat material (if prepared without butter). Escargot is estimated to include 15 % protein, 2.4 % fat and about 80 % water.