Tender bay scallops with mushrooms in a rich creamy sauce, spiced with a hint of curry under a blanket of golden bread crumbs and cheese create Coquilles St. Jacques. This easy version of the classic French dish is a perfect way to dazzle your family and friends. Great for dinner parties and guests, the casseroles can be prepared a day ahead and simply popped in the oven when your company arrives allowing you time to spend with your friends. Serve with a side of fresh green beans or salad for a perfect dinner.
- 1 ½ cups seafood stock, clam juice or low-sodium chicken stock
- 1-2 each springs of fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley Tie in a bundle
- 3 large shallots, divided peeled and diced, about 1 cup
- 2 pounds bay scallops, or quartered sea scallops, abductor muscles removed
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded, sliced
- ¼ cup brandy or Cognac
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs, approximately 6 slices white bread, crusts removed, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- 5 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a skillet over medium-high heat bring the stock, herb bundle, and some of the shallots to a slow boil. Reduce to simmer and add the scallops. Gently poach for just a minute cooking the scallops only about half way. Remove the scallops and set aside. Strain the stock to add in the next step.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter foams add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes whisking constantly. Add stock and whisk until sauce is smooth and thick. Add the cream, curry powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the sauce just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Place 3 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When butter is melted add the shallots and cook stirring occasionally until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushroom caps, and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes or until they have released their liquid and are just starting to brown. Add the brandy or Cognac and cook 1 to 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Add a teaspoon of salt to the mixture and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, stir to combine. Add mushroom mixture to the cream sauce, and set aside.
Combine the bread crumbs, and Gruyère in a large bowl and mix well. Add just enough olive oil to moisten the mixture.
Use last tablespoon of butter to grease 6 1 1/2-cup gratin dishes. Divide the scallops evenly among the dishes. Top the scallops with equal amounts of the cream and mushroom sauce. Finish each gratin dish with a handful or two of the bread-crumb mixture. Place dishes on a sheet pan.
At this point the gratins are ready to be baked, or you can cover them with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a day.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400. Remove cover from sheet tray, and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbling.
This is a great make-ahead recipe giving you time to spend with your guests instead of cooking.