Our First Dinner Party (Coquilles St. Jacques)

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Final presentation paired nicely with our “variety” of French wines

 

Food is an excellent means for people to get together, have lively conversation and create fond memories over. I had just finished baking some “skinny” blueberry muffins (post to follow) and the creative juices were flowing. Pascal decided he wanted to host a dinner party. He had been wanting to make Coquilles St.Jacques for awhile so this was the perfect opportunity to test out the recipe that his father always made on the most special of occasions. Coquilles St. Jasques was a new experience for us all, except Pascal, and we were all ready to try something to new and adventurous.

There were so many different aspects of the dish cooking at the same time so it was really nice to have guests that arrived to help with the cooking process. Having everyone that was eating the food involved with the creation of the dish made for a greater appreciation for the masterpiece we created together. It also created a little misunderstanding in directions that led to the bouillon being thrown out before it was used. This was something we were all able to laugh about while eating. Luckily we had bought enough of the ingredients that we were able to scrounge up enough of them to remake it really quick.

The recipe calls for a dry white wine. I recommend that you use a chardonnay in this dish because of its high acidity and clean crisp flavour. It pairs excellently with the cheeses used in the dish.

For the meal we had plenty of wines to choose from. Pascal and I had picked out a pinot grigio to drink with the dish. Our guests had all brought wine to share with dinner as well, being the great guests that they were.

The aroma that filled the air once the dish came out of the oven was phenomenal. We all waited eagerly for it to be placed on our plates so we could dig in. With the wine open and being passed around, we enjoyed our meal over laughs and good conversation. We were all asking for seconds before we were even done our first serving. The gruyere’s sharp taste and the flavours of the wine made for a well balanced sauce that encompassed the scallops beautifully. All hugged together with mashed potatoes that helped to eat up every last bit of the sauce. By the end of the night there wasn’t an empty stomach or a sober mind.

Please take a look at the recipe below and give it a try at home. We want to hear about your experiences, your dinner parties, and if you’ve ever had Coquilles St.Jacques. If you have any questions regarding the recipe, where to find certain supplies or ingredients, let us know or just leave a comment. This is our first post so constructive criticism is more than welcome. Bon appetit!

 

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Pascal piping the mashed potatoes before placing the seashells in the oven to finish them off.

**Recipe from McCall’s cooking school**

INGREDIENTS:    

COURT BOUILLON

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 stalk of celery, cut up
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 slices of lemon
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 lb of sea scallops, washed and drained

SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 lb of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 cup of light cream
  • 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup of reserved court bouillon 
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley 

MASHED POTATO

  • 2lbs of white potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of water, the onion, celery, bay leaf and lemon. Bring to boil then reduce heat keeping at a simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of wine and scallops. Gently simmer, covered, for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve the liquid.

2. In a second medium saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of butter. Once melted, saute the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. Stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and pepper and blend well. Gradually stir in cream. Bring to a boil as you continue to stir.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently until quite thick, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add Gruyere cheese, stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in white wine, 1/2 cup of court bouillon and the parsley. Add scallops and mix well. Divide into 6-8 scallop shells. (We used 8 medium sized shells and it fit the portions perfectly, with just a little bit of mashed potato left over)

4. In a pot big enough to cover the potatoes with an inch of water, place the peeled potatoes, cut into quaters. Cook covered until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain very well, return to saucepan and heat over low heat to dry out the potatoes. Beat with mixer at medium speed.

5. Beat potato until smooth (no lumps). In saucepan, heat butter and milk until butter melts – don’t let milk boil. Gradually beat hot milk mixture into potato until smooth. Beat 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 of pepper and the egg yolk until light and fluffy.

6. Place mashed potatoes into a pastry bag with a number 6 tip. Pipe a border around edge of each scallop dish. Sprinkle the dish with parmesan cheese. Place shells on cookie sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat, until golden brown and hot, about 2-3 minutes.

7. Enjoy!

 

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Fresh out of the oven! The aroma had our mouths watering.

 

            

 

 

 

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