Coquilles St. Jacques

May 17, 2010

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

This is one of those almost-forgotten recipes, but it deserves to be brought back. It’s rich, old-fashioned, really satisfying. Use sea scallops; bay scallops are too delicate – and too expensive – for this dish.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • sprinkle of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere

Mix water, wine, parsley and bay leaf.  Add scallops; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.  Drain the liquid and reserve, throwing out the spices.  Cut the scallops into 6 pieces and reserve separately.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.  Add mushrooms, onions, sherry and lemon juice.  Cover and cook gently 6 minutes.  Drain the liquid into the scallop liquid and add the mushrooms to the reserved scallops.

In the same skilled melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour.  Whisk in the liquid and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Mix egg yolks and cream.  Stir in a little of the hot sauce and then stir the egg mixture into the pot.  Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the scallops and mushrooms to the sauce.  Traditionally you would now divide the mixture into 6 separate dishes, cover with bread crumbs, dot with cheese and remaining butter and put under the broiler until brown.  If you have no “coquilles” just use a casserole and throw it all together.  Less elegant – but it tastes the same.

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