Thursday, February 24, 2011
Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallops in Creamy Sauce)
This is one of the dishes from my childhood. My mother had a friend who was a fabulous cook and every year our families traveled together and she would make this dish as an appetizer, served in a shell.
At home, I usually serve this as a main dish with a green salad and plain rice. So, I prefer to use large sea scallops. But if you are going to use the scallop shells, then you are better off using the smaller bay scallops. If you still want to serve as an appetizer in individual portions, serve in small ramekins which will hold the sea scallops very well.
Halal Coquille St. Jacques
I usually buy scallops frozen. Because scallops absorb water very easily and will get really soggy if not thawed properly, I usually put them in a Ziploc bag that is completely sealed and water-proof and then place this under running cold water until the scallops defreeze. Then, I put the scallops between two pieces of paper towel to dry them out.
Makes about 12 appetizer-size servings (ramekins)
1 small onion finely diced (separate 2 Tbsp and mince well)
Slices of lemon
1 bay leaf
¼ cup apple juice (in place of wine)
¼ cup water
16 large sea scallops
1 + 3 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 4oz can mushrooms, drained
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
About ½ tsp salt, more or less to taste
About ¼ tsp ground white pepper, more or less to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Swiss or Mozzarella Cheese (Gruyere would be ideal, but I rarely have it at home)
For Crunchy topping (optional)
Mix about 1 Tbsp bread crumbs, about 1 ½ Tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese, with a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of paprika and a pinch of onion powder
After chopping the onion, separate 2 tablespoons and mince really well. Set the 2 tablespoons aside to use later.
Poach scallops in water, apple juice, onions, bay leaf and lemon slices for about 3 minutes. Don’t overcook the scallops or they will become tough. Remove scallops from the liquid, put on a plate and set aside. Strain scallop cooking liquid and set aside.
Wash and dry pan, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the two, well-minced tablespoons of onion and the garlic. Cook, stirring and add mushrooms. Keep cooking, stirring for a couple of minutes until mixture drys out a little. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, add 3 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add flour and, stirring non-stop, cook for a minute or two to form a roux. Add strained liquid that the scallops had cooked in and keep whisking for about 1 to 2 minutes. While still whisking, add the milk, lemon, salt, white pepper and cayenne. Cook, whisking, for a couple of minutes. Add heavy cream and shredded cheese, mix well and remove from heat. Mix in mushrooms and scallops.
Pour mixture into buttered ramekins or baking dish (for family style). Sprinkle parmesan cheese or crunch topping on top and broil for a couple of minutes. Bon Appetit!