Coquilles St. Jacques

Laura took her turn in the kitchen last night. She wanted to make something with seafood because James, who is coming to visit for Christmas today, does not like seafood, so this was our chance to have some before he arrives. She chose this recipe. I looked at it and said: “Are you sure, this looks complicated.” She said: “I can do this!” So of course, the gauntlet was thrown. I was in charge of the bread and salad. She carefully staged everything ahead of time because there are a lot of moving parts to the recipe and some tricky timing.

Well, I am here to say this turned out spectacularly. She was very proud and said she wished we had had some guests over so they could have enjoyed it too. I was real proud of her too.

Ingredients:

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 scallops
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 Pinch cayenne

Method:

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 a 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.

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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. Place the filled shells under the broiler about 6 inches from the source of heat and broil until a nice brown glaze forms on top. As the scallops broil, turn shells occasionally for even browning, about 5 minutes.

5. Serve immediately.

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