Snails are cooked for about half an hour in rapidly boiling salted water. Drain in a colander, remove the snails from the shells (which are reserved), and remove intestines. Then place the snails in another kettle, add a bouquet garni made of parsley, bay leaves, and thyme, a sliced onion, and a glass of cognac or other brandy. Cover with cold water, season with salt and pepper and, tightly covered, simmer for about three hours.
Meanwhile, scrub the shells and dry them thoroughly. Place a snail in each and cover the opening with garlic butter. Arrange the snails on a baking tin and place them in a medium-hot oven until the butter begins to run and the snails are heated through.
The snails are served, ring-shaped, on a large platter without any garnish.
Garlic Butter for Snails
2 cloves garlic
1/4 pound butter
Handful of parsley, chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pound garlic cloves in a mortar and remove any shreds, or use a garlic press so that only the oil remains. Place butter in the mortar and work the garlic oil into it as well as you can. Then add parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Work all together until well incorporated.