We've been asked a lot for our recipe for Coquille Saint Jacques this month. It's been very popular. In fact this last weekend out of 40 covers there are only 10 other starters ordered.
Coquille Saint Jacques was one of my father's favourite meals and when we were on holiday in France he would always have it as many times as possible. It's a simple, yet delicious dish and our version is the traditional version, although you don't have to add the mushrooms.
I've always been fascinated by the history behind dishes and if you've ever wondered why Coquille Saint Jacques is named so then we found this interesting gem from One French Word Blog
"The scallop shell, the coquille St Jacques is so called because it has been the symbol used since the 12th century by pilgrims walking to St Jacques de Compostèle. A carved scallop shell is to be found on the front of houses used by pilgrims at stopover points"
Here's another amazing nugget of trivia about Coquille Saint Jacques from Food Trivia and Food Facts
"The most repeated story is that a knight was saved from drowning by St. James. The knight emerged from the water, covered with shells ... and so the phrase "shells of St. James" also emerged"
6 scallop shells, cleaned.
Handful of organic chestnut button mushrooms roughly chopped
2 pints of fish Stock ( we use homemade but any good one will do)
A glass of wine
Large knob of butter
Tablespoon of flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread crumbs ( we use stale baguettes, but any will do)
Lemon slices to serve
Watercress for garnish
Make sure the scallop shells are thoroughly cleaned. Dry and put to one side. Pour the fish stock, wine and Parsley stocks in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer then add the scallops. Lightly poach until just done them remove the scallops from the saucepan with a slatted spoon and place in a dish and put to one side.
In another pan heat the butter and flour to make a roux then gradually add ladles of stock till you get a thickish consistency. The scallops should be cool enough to handle now so chop them into quarters and add them to the thickened sauce. Season to taste. This can be made in advance, in fact it enhances the flavour
If you’re making the breadcrumbs these can be made in advance too. Just whizz up any stale bread you have left in the food processor or a good old fashioned cheese grater. We keep ours to a medium consistency.
When you are ready to assemble the Coquille Saint Jaques simply preheat the oven to 220oc /Gas Mark 7.
Spoon the mixture evenly between the shells. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray then heat until bubbling and brown. Usually 7-8 minutes. Serve with lemon and watercress.