Citizens, Coquilles Saint Jacques is one of the great classic French recipes – that means, cream and butter are an integral part of the dish. Classically served in a scallop shell, this recipe consists of scallops in a creamy wine sauce, topped with bread crumbs and cheese and browned under a broiler. In this recipe, the scallops are nobly enriched by these ingredients to elevate an already fantastic ingredient to a whole new plane of delicious.
Perhaps the most famous baked scallop dish is indeed Coquilles Saint-Jacques, translated as Saint James’s scallops – the scallop shell is the emblem of Saint James the Greater. The saint’s association with the scallop shell is based on a legend that he once rescued a knight covered in scallops; a variation on the tale is that, while his remains were being transported to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the water and emerged covered in scallop shells.
As a result, Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, often wore a scallop shell symbol on their clothing. And so, this delicious dish in a wine-flavored cream sauce is served in a scallop shell and named after Saint Jacques. Consider serving it on March 12, National Baked Scallops Day; and on May 16th, National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day.
Yes, this dish is fattening. Yes, there are other recipes that better highlight truly fresh scallops still in the shell. Yes, you will love this recipe.
Classics are classics for a REASON, after all. 🙂
This particular recipe from Saveur is my favorite version, as it adds additional flavor notes from a number of fresh herbs as well as Vermouth (herb-flavored white wine). Please do stick with Noilly Prat brand dry vermouth if at all possible for this recipe. It is light years ahead of every other option in flavor and quality.
When buying scallops, look for an ivory or very light brown color – these are almost certainly scallops without any additives (look for “dry packed” scallops). White scallops have almost certainly been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) and are called “wet packed”. STPP causes the scallops to absorb moisture prior to the freezing process, thereby increasing the weight and also toughens them into shoe leather when they’re cooked.
Few things are as satisfying as coquilles Saint Jacques made properly, Citizens – this is proper!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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