Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jacques Pepin's Coquilles St. Jacques

I'm fairly certain there are no words, or pictures, that are good enough to describe how magnificent Pepin's Coquilles St. Jacques were. This classical French recipe exceeded our expectations. It's fair to say it blew our minds!

Don't make the same mistake as me and wait too long to make this one.  Add it to the top of your list, move it to the top of your list, or do whatever you gotta do...but make this and make this soon!

Coquilles St. Jacques, or gratin of scallops, is fit for royalty! It's very impressive on the plate and oh so heavenly. It all begins with a mushroom puree that cooks down for 25 minutes resulting in a very earthy and concentrated mushroom flavor. This mushroom base is the first layer of flavor and this layer is so flavorful you need little seasoning elsewhere. Next up is a beautifully seasoned poaching liquid whereby the scallops are poached until perfectly tender. This poaching liquid is then reduced and added to a velvety cream and Gruyere cheese sauce that is the stuff of dreams. Seriously.  Layer this heavenly sauce over the scallops and broil until browned and bubbly for a sensational first course, or even main course, fit for entertaining royalty.

This is my selection for this months Mystery Box Madness over at IHCC. We were given a list of ten ingredients (Scallops, Tarragon, Sour Cream, Walnuts, Capers, Asparagus, White Beans, Gruyere, Yeast, and Rice) to cook with and had to chose at least three. I chose scallops, tarragon, and Gruyere simply because I have little experience cooking with scallops and I'm so happy I chose to make Pepin's Coquilles St. Jacques. It's one of our new favorite dishes!

Coquilles St. Jacques
Recipe found on Saveur
by Jacques Pepin
Serves 6

 8 oz. button mushrooms, minced
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 small shallots, minced
2 tbsp. minced parsley
1 tbsp. minced tarragon, plus 6 whole leaves, to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup dry vermouth
1 bay leaf
6 large sea scallops
2 tbsp. flour
½ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup grated Gruyère
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat mushrooms, 4 tbsp. butter, and ⅔ of the shallots in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook until the mixture forms a loose paste, about 25 minutes. Stir parsley and minced tarragon into mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture among 6 cleaned scallop shells or shallow gratin dishes. Bring remaining shallots, vermouth, bay leaf, salt, and ¾ cup water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add scallops; cook until barely tender, about 2 minutes. Remove scallops; place each over mushrooms in shells. Continue boiling cooking liquid until reduced to ½ cup, about 10 minutes; strain. Heat broiler to high. Heat remaining butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add reduced cooking liquid and cream; cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add cheese, juice, salt, and pepper; divide the sauce over scallops. Broil until browned on top, about 3 minutes; garnish each with a tarragon leaf.
Theme: April Mystery Box Madness


  1. Hi Kim,
    Wow, another delicious scallop dish from JP! The third one I've seen at IHCC. Looks really delicious. Really wish to try Gruyere one of these days!
    No worries about the MBM ingredients! It is a challenge finding the right recipe that fits the ingredients, but then that is the fun and challenging part, the next part is the delicious part, coming up with the dish itself! And I could always substitute the ingredients to fit the theme! Thanks for your concern, Kim! :)

  2. I was so close to making these but with the rush to get out of town, I needed something easier. I am definitely saving this one to make sometime when I have more time. So pretty and elegant--it is certain to impress when it hits the table. Great job with the MBM ingredients!

  3. You make this sound to die for and I don't even like mushrooms OR scallops!! Impressive.

  4. Okay, I have to resurrect JP's cookbooks from my shelf. Scallops are my fave, and I've been wanting to make this for a long time. I'll do it! I have tons of garden tarragon, always have frozen scallops, and keep Gruyere on hand. (Don't ask me why, I just do.) Thank you for the inspiratio.

  5. This looks absolutely delicious Kim and glad we met through the Mystery Box Madness: April 2015! via IHCC too! Cheers! Joanne

  6. Ive made many Coquilles St Jacques and this is my favourite one!


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