Coquilles St. Jacques is a classic of French cuisine, gently poached scallops and mushrooms in a rich, cream sauce, garnished with enriched mashed potato and gratinated. It is a real dinner party staple from the 1970’s but definitely none the worse for that, done right Coquilles St. Jacques is a real pleasure to eat. I love scallops and my style of cooking when I first trained definitely used lots of cream and butter so this soon became a favourite dish of mine. Coquilles St. Jacques is still a very popular dish now and always sells out when we put it on the specials boards in any of the restaurants I work in.
Coquilles St. Jacques serves 6
The great thing for the home cook is Coquilles St. Jacques can be prepared early, left on the shells and chilled then baked later for five or ten minutes longer than indicated in the recipe below. Be careful when poaching the scallops to not overcook as they can soon go rubbery.
For Mashed Potatoes
800 gr King Edward potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons salted Butter
2 tablespoons Double Cream
1 Egg Yolk
A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper
For Scallop filling
12 Scallops, trimmed and patted dry on kitchen paper
150 gr Button Mushrooms, wiped and quartered
2 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 large knobs of Butter ( 2 tablespoons )
3 heaped tablespoons Plain Flour
125 ml good White Wine
125 ml Water
60 ml Double Cream
A generous splash of Vermouth
Juice of half a freshly squeezed Lemon
1 small Bouquet Garni
2 tablespoons of Chives, finely chopped
Fine Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper
150 gr grated Gruyère cheese
50 gr Breadcrumbs
6 Scallop shells
For the mashed potatoes
Place the potatoes into a large pan and cover with water and add a half teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes for twenty minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and drain, return to the pan and put back on the heat to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat again and the pass through a moulis. Add the butter, cream, egg yolk, and nutmeg and beat in to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
In a medium saucepan bring the water, wine, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to a low boil. Carefully add the scallops, and simmer for three minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper. Drop the mushrooms into the simmering cooking liquid and cook for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and strain out the mushrooms keeping the cooking liquid.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the shallots, cook over a moderate heat until very soft, but not coloured, stir in the flour to make a roux. Cookout for a couple of minutes until golden then whisk in the hot scallop poaching liquid. Add the cream and vermouth and cookout covered with a cartouche on the lowest possible simmer. After half an hour taste to see if the floury texture is cooked out and season as required. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Slice the scallops in half lengthwise and add to the sauce with the mushrooms and chives.
Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. Spoon the filling into six scallop shells or small gratin dishes and pipe around the edge with the mashed potatoes. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the cheese and top with the breadcrumbs then bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, until the cheese and potatoes are golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven and serve.
Allergens in this recipe are;