RECIPE: Coquilles St-Jacques (Gratinéed Scallops)

IMG_1022 - Version 2

This past weekend my friends hosted a “French Feast New Year’s Party”; I was invited to join my friend Jo in her kitchen as her “sous chef’ to prepare dinner for 18 people!  She found the recipe for this wonderful Jacques Pepin’s classic French recipe from Saveur online; we prepared this dish as an appetizer, with help from others for plating and serving. It was excellent team work; for a while it felt as if we were working in a restaurant kitchen…enjoy (OO).

Ingredients: (Serves 6)

8 oz button mushrooms (minced), 3 small shallots (minced), 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 Tablespoons parsley (minced), 1 Tablespoon minced tarragon (plus 6 whole leaves to garnish), kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; 3/4 cup dry vermouth, 1 bay leaf, 6 large sea scallops, 2 Tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2/3 cup grated Gruyere, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


To prepare the duxelles:

Heat mushrooms, 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 2/3 of the shallots in a saucepan over medium heat, cook until mixture forms a loose paste, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Stir parsley and minced tarragon into mixture, season with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.

Bring remaining shallots, vermouth, bay leaf, salt and 3/4 cup of water to boil in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add scallops and lightly poach until barely tender, less than 2 minutes.  Remove scallops from cooking liquid and set aside.

– To prepare the sauce:

Continue to boil cooking liquid until reduced to 1/2 cup (it takes approximately 10 minutes), strain the liquid.

Heat remaining butter in a different sauce pan over medium heat; add flour, cook until smooth (approximately 2 minutes).

Whisk in reduced cooking liquid and cream; cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Add cheese, juice, salt and pepper.

– To assemble the dish:

Heat broiler to high, place rack at the top.

Dividing the mushroom mixture among the dishes.

Place 6 shallow gratin dishes on baking sheet, divide mushroom mixture evenly.

Place scallop over mushroom mixture; divide sauce over scallops.

Broil until browned on top, about 3 minutes, garnish each with tarragon leaf.


– We used 2 scallops per serving, we were unable to find sea scallops and luckily found these wonderful frozen ones from Hokkaido (**They are sashimi grade, purchased from Golden Summit Frozen Seafood in Richmond, BC).

– The mushroom duxelle can be prepared one day ahead (we did and store in tightly sealed container).

– I’ve broken down the steps according to how we prepared the dish; we have used a lighter cream instead of heavy cream.

Here’s the original link:

If you follow the link, you’ll be able to find 150 classic recipes from around the world, featured in Saveur’s special 150th issue.

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