Coquilles St. Jacques

Traditionally these are bay or sea scallops and mushrooms sautéed in butter and served gratinée with gruyère and cream on scallop shells, sometimes rimmed with pureed potatoes.  My version is a bit lighter because I omit the heavy cream and adds a Québécois twist with substitution of sharp Canadian cheddar for the gruyère.

Ingredients

1 pound potatoes

2 slices bacon

½ pound bay scallops

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. minced shallot or onion

1 clove garlic, minced

4 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned then halved or quartered to roughly the size of the scallops

1 Tbsp. flour, I use rice flour to make the dish gluten-free

½ cup dry white wine, dry hard cider or apple wine would also be nice

2 ounces finely shredded extra sharp Canadian-style cheddar, about ¾ cups

Method

Dice the potatoes and place in salted cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Drain reserving about ½ cup of the cook water and mash until smooth. Set aside.

Note: this recipe works best if you use a plain aluminum or stainless steel skillet rather than non-stick.

Cook the bacon in a 10-inch fry pan over medium high heat until it is crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit toward the end so that the bacon cooks thoroughly but does not burn.  Remove the bacon to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. When cool chop finely.

Turn the heat up a bit and when the bacon just begins to smoke add the scallops and sauté until done, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same pan you cooked the scallops in add the butter. When melted put in the shallots and garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, turn the heat to medium, and sauté, stirring regularly until the mushrooms are done and start to give up their liquid. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir for a minute or two. Add the white wine and stir, deglazing the pan, until thickened. Put in the scallops and stir to combine.

Set a rack about 6 inches below your broiler and preheat. Put half of the mashed potatoes on each of two broiler-proof plates. Form into a neat mound then make a well in the center of it. Spoon the scallop and mushroom mixture into the wells. Top with cheese then chopped bacon. Place under the broiler for about 10 minutes, rotating the two plates half way through to make sure they are done evenly.

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