About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Coquilles Saint Jacques

This is an elegant, classic first course served in scallop dishes or as a main dish served in individual gratin dishes.  I first encountered Coquilles Saint Jacques at a lovely old inn in my father's home town.  I was about 12 and, once again, introduced to sophisticated dishes not served at home.  It was love at first bite.  It's meant to prepared with scallops and I used bay size. They fit the presentation better than the larger variety.  I happen to keep seafood stock in my freezer but clam juice is an acceptable substitute, better yet, poach the scallops in water, onion, halved whole lemon and pepper corns and bay leaf, then reserve the stock.  Add brandy for the holiday season and rock on.

* see bonus seafood stock at the bottom

4 tbls unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced shallot
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz sliced mushrooms (your choice)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/3  cup all purpose flour
1 tbls curry powder
1 tsp white pepper
1 1/4 cup seafood stock
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup brandy
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 lbs bay scallops

Melt the butter in a large fry pan and add the shallots when the butter foams.  Cook stirring frequently for 2-3 mins then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the mushrooms.  Continue to toss the mushrooms, shallots and garlic until the mushrooms release their liquid and are soft.  Add the  green onions, curry, white pepper and combine.  Add flour and combine; cook for 1 minute.  Add the seafood stock slowly and stir until smooth.  Add the cream and bring to simmer.  Add the brandy and salt to taste.  Bring just to the boil and reduce heat.  In the mean time, butter 6 ramekins.  Mix the bread crumbs, chopped parsley and gruyere with the olive oil. Divide the scallops and sauce evenly amongst the ramekins and top with bread crumb mixture.  Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and place under a preheated broiler for 4-5 mins. Serve immediately.

Seafood Stock

1 lb fish frames and shrimps shells (heads, if you are brave)
1 onion peeled and quartered
1 lemon split in half
10 whole pepper corns'
1 bouquet garni
Cover with 6 cups water cold water.  Make sure ingredients are covered

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.  Reduce to 1 quart.  Strain through cheese cloth and cool.  Freeze  up to 6 months.

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