HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!!! This is our traditional Bastille Day meal, & my very own take on "Coquilles St. Jacques" after trying out many different recipes. Don't be put off by the number of steps - it does put together quickly. Rich, colorful, DELICIOUS, & easily increased for larger parties.
(Serves 2-3 as an entree - 4-6 as an appetizer.)
Breezy Coquilles St. Jacques
1 pound bay scallops (thawed frozen work fine), rinsed
Approx. 1 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chablis)
Approx. 1 cup water
1 Bay Leaf
Approx. 1/2 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
8 ounces sliced White Button Mushrooms
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 "clove" of shallot, peeled & minced
Approx. 1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Approx. 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
Freshly ground white (or black) pepper to taste
Buttered baking dish, buttered individual gratin dishes, or large natural scallop shells brushed with melted butter. (I use the large natural scallop shells when serving this as an appetizer.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet large enough to hold vegetables & saute mushrooms, bell pepper, shallot, & parsley until tender & softened, but not browned. Set aside.
Bring wine, water, & bay leaf to a boil & add scallops. (If necessary, add more wine & water in equal portions to cover scallops completely.) Lower heat & poach for 1-2 minutes ONLY, depending on size. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove scallops to a bowl & set aside. Raise heat & reduce wine/water mixture until only approximately half a cup remains. Remove & discard bay leaf. Pour liquid into measuring cup & set aside.
Add half-and-half to wine/water mixture in measuring cup to make 1 cup of liquid. In a saucepan large enough to hold all ingredients, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter & stir in tablespoon of flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for just a minute or two to remove raw taste from flour. Still stirring constantly, slowly pour in measuring-cup mixture & continue cooking until it starts to thicken. Gently add in vegetable mixture & scallops.
Pour into baking dish, individual gratin dishes, or scallop shells & top with shredded Gruyere cheese. Depending on what size baking dish(es) you're using, bake until heated through & cheese is melted & bubbly.
Serve with a nice mixed green salad & good crusty bread.