Beth shares a festive first course inspired by her French in-laws. Classically served in a scallop shell, Coquilles St. Jacques is easy to make a day ahead and one of Beth's favorite appetizers for holiday entertaining.
COQUILLES ST. JACQUES
(Serves 6 as a first course)
1 pound (453 g) of scallops, cut into quarters
5 tbsp (75 g) butter
1 shallot, minced
1 leek, white parts only sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tbsp (30 g) butter
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/2 cup (350 ml) dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp (2.5 g) fresh thyme
1/2 tsp (2.5 g) salt
2 tbsp (15 g) flour
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (150 g) bread crumbs
1/2 cup (45 g) grated gruyere cheese
2 tbsp (11 g) freshly chopped parsley
METHOD: Melt 2 tbsp (30 g) of butter in a pan. Add shallots and leeks and cook until soft. Add mushrooms. Cook until they release their juices. Set aside.
In a large saut√© pan, add wine, bay leaf, thyme, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add scallops. Cook for 4-5 minutes until scallops are slightly firm (do not over cook). Drain all liquid; expect about 1 cup (240 ml). Set aside.
Melt remaining 3 tbsp (45 g) of butter, add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the scallop liquid and cream. Cook until reduced slightly, and mixture has thickened.
Add vegetables and scallops back into the pan, stir until combined. Then portion out into scallop shells, or ramekins. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. Bake at 400F/200C until bread crumbs crisp and cheese melts.