French Language Blog

French Cuisine – Coquilles Saint Jacques Posted by on Jul 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

The summer is underway and the pilgrims on St. James’ Way can be seen making their way to Santiago. One of my very favorite appetizers or first course dishes is Coquilles Saint Jacques or what is known in English as simply ‘scallops’.  I don’t know about you, but I find Coquilles Saint Jacques much more elegant…but then again that seems to happen a lot with French cuisine. The funny thing about them is the fact that their history is actually tied to Spain and that they don’t have such an elegant name in Spanish…Saint Jacques or Saint James was one of the 12 Apostles and the scallop shell is the symbol of the crusaders of the Order of St. James, which was founded to protect pilgrims headed to Santiago de Compostela. The story goes that St. James saved a drowning knight’s life and the knight came out of the water covered in scallop shells. It is also said that the body of St. James, himself, was lost in the ocean on the way to Spain for burial and later washed ashore covered in scallops. There are also other versions. In any case, the order and the French dish were named in his honor.

I thought I would share this very simple Coquilles Saint Jacques recipe with all of you.

1 lb. of scallops
2 pints mussels
10 oz. shrimp
3 shallots
1 glass of white whine
1 cup of fresh cream
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 teaspoons of butter
2 small cans of mushrooms

Mince the shallots and sauté them in the oil until clear. Add the scallops, mussels and shrimp and let them cook for 3 minutes on low heat. Then, add the mushrooms and again let it cook for a minute.
Pour the white wine over this and then pour in the fresh cream and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Thicken the sauce with butter. Salt and pepper.
Serve this in the scallop shells after you have cleaned them.

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