Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Coquilles St Jacques

This is one of the nicest ways I know of serving up scallops, sadly it has been forgotten rather over the last few years with scallops more often being served on pea purees, partnered up with chorizo. The good thing about this dish is the preparation can be done earlier in the day and popped into a hot oven for ten minutes while people are downing the second martini. Recipe for a good martini: Vodka (Chase) or Gin (Plymouth) and the smallest addition of Noilly Prat you feel you can get away with. Stir in a large glass with 3 washed ice cubes for a minute, no more and strain into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a small piece of lemon rind if using vodka and for me a rinsed cocktail onion if using gin. The right size martini glass is now and endangered species, I have two and countless modern ones which are just about twice the size they should be.

For this recipe (which serves 4) you will need,
12 fat scallops without roe
500g of creamy mashed potato
100g of gruyere cheese grated finely
50ml of Noilly Prat
25ml of Pastis
200ml of double creme
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs see notes
1 teaspoon of butter
salt and white pepper.

Begin by slicing each scallop into 3 discs, place in a pan with the butter and on a low heat cook slowly for no more than a minute. During this time, the scallops will hardly lose their translucence but they should shed most of their liquid. Remove the scallops carefully leaving behind all the precious liquid and set aside for later. Add the Noilly Prat and pastis to the pan and bring up to a boil. Cook for a minute to drive off the alcohol and add the cream, half the cheese and the parsley, season to taste. Switch off the heat and stir. When the mix has cooled, add the discs of scallop and share out between three small gratin dishes or deep scallop shells. Top with the remaining cheese mixed with the breadcrumbs. Pipe around the mashed potato and set aside until ten minutes before they are needed. Cook by placing in a hot oven 200C for between 8and 10 minutes, the creamy mix should be beginning to bubble and the piped potato should be taking on a toasted brown colour on the edges.

I make my breadcrumbs by placing bread that is at least a couple of days old in a food processor with half a clove of garlic and a little of the parsley and processing for a minute or two, these keep perfectly well in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

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