Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallops with Mushrooms in Cream Sauce)

We made these the other day, we had outdoor plans for the day but it was raining so we had time to play in the kitchen. We ended up using the most difficult recipe imaginable and, as one would expect, it took all the fun out of cooking and we both got crabby as a result. After dinner we jumped on the internet to research how other foodies made this dish. We came up with this hybrid, made it last night and it was good. Less stressful, more fun, and results were excellent. The scallops were tender and succulent and were not overpowered by the sauce.

We made Duchess potatoes and piped them around the perimeter of the scallop dishes, just for fun.


For the Scallops


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound sea or bay scallops
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Pinch cayenne


1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the mushrooms. Cook until wilted and add the salt, pepper, and wine.

2. Add the scallops and bring to the boil. Cook until all the scallops are heated through, stirring gently as necessary. Take care not to let the scallops overcook or they will toughen. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside the scallops and mushrooms. Reserve the liquid. There should be about 3/4 cup of liquid.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. When blended add the reserved liquid, stirring until thickened and smooth. Add the milk and 1 cup of the cream. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of cayenne.

4. Using 6 individual scallop shells or ramekins, spoon equal portions of the scallops and mushrooms into each shell. Spoon the sauce over the scallop mixture. Preheat the broiler to high. (At this point if you are doing the Duchess Potatoes, pipe them around the perimeter.) Place the filled shells under the broiler about 6 inches from the source of heat and bake until a nice brown glaze forms on top. As the scallops broil, turn shells occasionally for even browning, about 5 minutes.

5. Serve immediately.

For years I have guarded this potato recipe. This is the way I make my mashed potatoes, I haven’t used milk in years. At dinner parties many people ask for second helping of my potatoes. Now my secret is out, enjoy, but don’t share the recipe.

Duchess Potatoes


  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 egg yolks
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, optional


1. Cut each potato in 2 or 3 equal pieces. Put in a medium saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until tender; potatoes should be quite soft.

2. Drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pan and heat gently, shaking occasionally, until dry. Remove from heat.

3. With an electric hand mixer, blend potatoes until soft, adding butter, pepper, and nutmeg (if using). Add one egg yolk at a time, blending as you go.

4. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

5. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tube, and pipe large rosettes, around the border of the dish, or onto a greased baking sheet.

6. Broil or bake 5 to 10 minutes until browned.

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