When it comes to classic French dinner recipes, it doesn’t get any better than this: Coquilles Saint Jacques (Saint Jacques Scallops). Scallops prepared in such a delicate and marvelously subtle manner, it is an outstanding experience of traditional French cuisine.
Coquilles Saint Jacques Recipe-
- 1 pound fresh bay scallops
- 1 small onion, sliced
- ½ lemon, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup dry white wine (a good quality, French Chardonnay is recommended, and serve the rest of the bottle with the meal!)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. salted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. minced shallots
- 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
- 6 oz. baby chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed (use fresh if you can get them, if not, about 2 oz. of dried chanterelle’s will do, rehydrated before you begin preparing the dish)
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. freshly ground fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground white peppercorns
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper powder
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp. minced green onions
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese, or Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. Emeril’s Cajun Essence Seasoning
- ¼ cup freshly grated, good quality, aged Parmesan cheese (we strongly suggest Parmesan Reggiano)
- Preheat your oven on high broil. Butter the insides of 4 large ramekins and place them on a baking sheet, then set aside.
- Using a large saucepan or skillet, combine the onion, lemon, bay leaf, scallops, water, and wine, and then bring the heat up to where the dish is cooking at just a lively simmer. Poach the scallops about 3 minutes, or just until firm (do not overcook, they will lose the delicate texture and start getting tough), then remove them with a slotted spoon, place them on a plate and set aside.
- Using a sieve or colander, strain the cooking liquid out of the pan and into a clean bowl.
- In another saucepan over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter; add in the garlic and the shallots and sauté, stirring, a half a minute. Then add in the mushrooms and continue to sauté until tender—about 4 minutes should do the trick—then remove with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside.
- Now put 2 tablespoons of butter into the same saucepan the mushrooms were sautéed in, and melt over medium heat, then add in the flour and sauté, stirring continuously for about 2 minutes, until you have a light roux.
- Once you have your roux, little by little add in the strained poaching liquid, whisking continuously, and cook about 2 minutes, until thickened. Then add in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne and milk, and whisk together well. Bring to a boil and cook for just one full minute.
- Now add in the green onions and cilantro, and simmer for 1 minute, then add in the cream and shredded Beaufort or Gruyere, stir vigorously until well combined, and then take the pan off the burner.
- Carefully fold the poached scallops and the sautéed mushrooms into the cheesy mixture, and pour the combined mixture into the buttered ramekins.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, Cajun Essence seasoning and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the filled ramekins, and then grate some fresh Parmigiano cheese on top of that.
- Pop the ramekins into the oven and broil 1-1/2, maybe 2 minutes (tops!) until just nice and brown and a little crispy on top.
- Serve your Coquilles Saint Jacques immediately, while still hot. This dish goes great with a fine French Chardonnay.