This is chef Houchin's variation on the traditional escargots à la bourguignonne, which is basically snails cooked in a spicy broth and sauced with butter, shallots, garlic and herbs. The Chartreuse sauce counterbalances the artichokes beautifully; a more traditional alternative calls for 2 parts Chablis to 1 part Burgundy marc (a grape-based spirit).
Wine suggestions: This holds its own with a serious Chardonnay: a good Montagny, or a Puligny-Montrachet.
6 small purple artichokes
1 lemon, quartered
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
5 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
10 ounces smoked bacon, cut into
1 18-ounce can snails, drained
1-1/4 cups cream
3/4 cup Chartreuse liqueur
Salt and pepper to taste
3 small, fresh local tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Prepare the artichokes: Trim the bottoms and get rid of any damaged leaves. Bring to boil several quarts of water. Add the lemon (this prevents the artichokes from discoloring) and sliced onion, and boil briefly; add artichokes. Cover, bring to boil again. Cook artichokes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until there is just a small amount of resistance to a test with a knife. Drain and refresh artichokes with cold water; reserve.
Put the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic and bacon, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add snails and immediately remove from heat. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool.
Heat oven to 350Â°F. Remove the heart of each artichoke by gently prising apart the leaves until the heart is exposed (save hearts for another use). Place the artichokes upright in a baking dish big enough to hold six. Stuff with the snail-bacon mixture (about half will remain for decorating the plate). Place the stuffed artichokes into the oven and heat through for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring Chartreuse to a boil and reduce by half. Add the cream and again reduce by half. Keep warm. Warm up remaining snail/bacon mixture.
Divide the snail/bacon mixture among six warmed plates. Nestle one artichoke in the center of each. Pour sauce over and around. Sprinkle each plate with chopped tomato and chives for garnish.