At the Manhattan bistro Acme, in the heart of New York City, chef Thomas Romero reinvents a classic Imperial Russian dish, chicken Kiev, with a French twist: buttery escargot.
“I had been toying with the idea of doing an adaptation of a Kiev ever since I had the one at The Russian Tea Room about a year ago,” Romero says. That New York institution serves its côtelette à la Kiev breaded and fried, but Romero opted to start with a roasted chicken breast with the drumette still attached.
“I really loved the surprise of hot butter flowing out of the chicken and saucing the whole dish,” says Romero, who makes an escargot butter by sautéing canned Sabarot Burgundy snails with shallots, black pepper, lemon zest, and nutmeg. He then deglazes the pan with sherry and roughly chops the snails with roasted garlic. “Chicken and snails pair beautifully,” he says, “not least because snails are part of a chicken’s diet.”
The dish is garnished with fresh herbs, including chervil, red-veined sorrel, and rock chive.
Chicken Kiev is usually presented on a bed of mashed potatoes, but Romero serves his with bright green parsley gnocchi. “Dumplings are a cherished accompaniment to chicken,” he says, adding that parsley, which is traditionally associated with escargot, “contributes a subtle grassy flavor that really makes the gnocchi pop.”
The restaurant suggests pairing this dish with the Crimson and Clover cocktail, which is made with vodka, fresh beet juice, orange, lemon, and rosemary. The drink’s herbaceous, vegetal notes help balance the richness of the escargot butter.
Photography by Louise Palmber