Coquilles Saint-Jacques

coquilles saint jacque served

Our good friends Gary and Torie, on their enviable SV Solitude, are back in town from a summer cruise in the Canadian Maritimes. We like the way they cruise…always trying out the best local food and wine of whatever region they sail. And we especially like that they share their booty with Galley Pirates. They not only brought back the freshest of scallops, they also offered up their galley, which is much larger, nicer and cleaner than mine. Cleaner that is, until a Pirate takes over…

Bluenose and Columbia

A breathtaking site for sailors and landlubbers alike, they happened upon the Bluenose of Lunenburg racing the Columbia, a replica ship. The Bluenose is the symbol of eastern Canada. You may think you don’t know the Bluenose, but you’ve likely seen it before….on the Canadian dime. Everywhere they traveled in Nova Scotia, the locals (“the friendliest people you will ever meet!”) asked, “Have you seen the Bluenose yet?” They are understandably very proud of their mother ship.

There are so many varying recipes for Coquilles Saint-Jacques it seems the only commonality is scallops, wine and a broiler. Some use mushrooms and cream; some don’t. Most use cheese, but some don’t. This evening we are going with a simple, traditional recipe based on Julia Child’s, Mastering the Art of French Cooking recipe, with adaptations for galley cooking.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques à la Provençale

1 lb sea scallops
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of flour for dredging
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons cold butter cut into 4 pieces
4 scallop shell baking dishes

minced shallots onions garlic

Mince the onion and shallots; press the garlic. (or finely mince if you don’t have a garlic press) Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan. Sauté the onions, shallots and garlic until soft and slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.

saute shallots

The secret to browning scallops is to make sure they start out very dry. Dry your scallops with a paper towel. Heat up the remaining butter and olive oil in the same sauté pan. While it’s heating, sprinkle the scallops with a little salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour.

dredging in flour

Sauté on medium to high heat until browned on one side, about 2 minutes

saute scallops

With tongs, flip the scallops over and brown the other side for an additional 2 minutes.

brown scallops

Add the wine, the herbs and the onion mixture. Cover and let simmer for 3 minutes. Uncover and let cook down for an additional 2 minutes to thicken. Remove the bay leaf; adjust salt and pepper as needed. (Don’t over salt. I did that. Bad idea!)

sauce thickens

Turn off the heat and light your galley broiler. Lighting a galley broiler is a little nerve wracking until you get used to it and realize it really is not going to blow up in your face. But do be careful. I like to have my lighter flame lit before I turn on the propane as the propane fills the plate quickly and ignites with a little WHOOSH. Then you see a strange blue glow on the white propane plate. Crack the oven door open. There should be grooves in your oven door handle to do this.

place in shells

As the broiler heats up fill the scallop shells with the scallop mixture. Sprinkle the Gruyère cheese on top and dot with a little butter.

add gruyere dot with butter

Place the shells on a foil lined cookie sheet then carefully slide it into your oven under the broiler. Remember to keep the door cracked open; closing it may cause your broiler flame to suffocate and die out. Keep a close eye on your oven as the Coquilles broils. The scallops may steam and splatter up onto the broiler. This could cause your broiler to start sparking…and the boat owners as well. Get ready to answer “Is everything okay over there?”

coquilles just broiled

Once the cheese has melted, carefully remove from the oven.

coquille saint jacques single

I like to place the scallop shells on top of a big leaf of lettuce on a separate dish to keep the shell from rocking.

And while all of this was going on, Torie was making the salad.

hydroponic lettuce

Torie picked up some wonderful Hydroponic lettuce from the downtown Annapolis farmer’s market. You know it’s fresh when it still has roots on it!. These were from Baywater Greens, located in Salisbury, on the Eastern Shore, so they didn’t travel far.
 preparing salads

She prepared a lovely fresh salad with all fresh ingredients..cucumbers, red pepper, lettuce, pumpkin seeds…from the farmer’s market. She topped the salads off with dried cranberries and a vinaigrette.  This was the perfect compliment, light and refreshing, to the rich and flavorful scallops.

single salad

And more from the farmer’s market was this wonderful loaf of fresh bread.

farmers market bread

All fresh ingredients, good food and good friends, make for a perfect on-board dinner.

dinner served

Thanks for hanging with us this evening. Please share your favorite Coquilles Saint-Jacques recipes with Galley Pirates. And any galley broiler tips as well! We want to be sure all you Galley Pirates out there are “one” with their galley stove!


2 thoughts on “Coquilles Saint-Jacques

  1. Dear Galley Pirates, in my humble opinion the best scallops come from the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. Of course, the last time I had them they came directly for the fisherman. Talk about cath of the day. Lovely recipe today.

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