Laura The Gastronaut > Julia Child Recipes > Fish > Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale
Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale
July 23, 2021 | Laura Bullock | This post may contain affiliate links.
Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I | Julia Child
Co-authored with Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle | 1961 | Published by Alfred A. Knopf
- Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale [Scallops Gratinéed with Wine, Garlic, and Herbs], p. 218
You can buy Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I which contains this recipe here. This cookbook and recipe were written by Julia Child who co-authored with Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle and were published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Looking for another Julia Child recipe? Check out my Recipe Checklist to see if I've made it! You can see all the Fish recipes from Chapter 5 here!
Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube channel here!
BUTTER COUNT & COST
Butter Count: +5 TB
Cost: $31.22 [~$5.20 per shell]
See the total count here!
SCALLOPS SERVED IN SCALLOP SHELLS. OH, YOU FANCY!
First off, this is my second scallop recipe! Check out the first scallop recipe here. Here's the deal. I now know that any time the recipe ends in "à la provençale" I'm going to enjoy the recipe quite a bit. This recipe was no exception. I also must mention that serving your food out of seashells is probably the most fun thing you can do when it comes to plating, in my opinion. If I can't live out my dream of being near the ocean at all times then this has to be the second best thing.
LAURA'S RATING: 7
BRIAN'S RATING: 6.5
Now that we have had both styles of scallops, Brian and I agreed that this scallop recipe was better than the previous scallop recipe which was "à la parisienne." The flavors worked so well for this recipe. The slight browning on the scallops from the sauteing step was excellent. The browned melty crusty Swiss cheese on top was delicious. The sauce accompanying the scallops was thickened and flavored well. With that said, I felt like these scallops left me wanting more. Adding a bit of salt to the top of the scallops helped, but I often wonder if we have ruined our taste buds by putting so much seasoning on the other dishes we make. It almost makes these 1960 French recipes taste *dare I say it* bland. Despite all of this, I would still eat these scallops over and over again. All of these recipes have great techniques and wonderful flavor profiles. This has helped me so much when creating my own recipes.
What does it mean when a recipe ends in "à la provençale"?
When a recipe has "à la provençale" tacked on at the end it means the recipe is prepared in the style of Provence, a region in southeastern France. You usually will see olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs being used in these recipes. Other recipes of this style that I have made are Soupe au Pistou, Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs, Poulet Sautè aux Herbes de Provence, Daube de Boeuf à la Provençale, Sauté de Boeuf à la Provençale, Artichauts Braisès à la Provençale, and Green Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Herbs.
What do you serve with scallops?
Julia recommends serving the scallops on their own as a first course. Oh, don't forget the wine though! You could also double the portions and serve them as the main meal as well.
Why are the scallops floured prior to sauteing?
The flour coating on the scallops helps allow the scallops to develop a light brown crust because the flour absorbs the moisture. Just be sure you shake off the excess flour. You want just a dusting of flour on the scallops! The flour will also help thicken up the sauce.
WINE PAIRING WITH SCALLOPS
From the day I started this cooking adventure, I wished that I could be drinking those fancy wines Julia talks about prior to almost every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Today, I finally decided to start investing in my wine education.. by drinking more wine, of course! From now on, I will try my best to get a bottle of wine per Julia's recommendations. So get excited, pour yourself a glass of wine too (I don't want to drink alone), and let's figure out this wine pairing thing together!
For Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale, a chilled rosé or a côtes de Provence are good pairs. I decided to pick up a bottle of côtes de Provence since I had never tried it before nor ever heard of it. I went to Total Wine & More and was overwhelmed by how many bottles they had of côtes de Provence. Some of them were really expensive. I went for the $14 bottle which was the cheapest one on the shelf. I'm still on a budget over here. I can't get too crazy! Though drinking a $14 bottle of wine with scallops on a Wednesday night is pretty crazy for me.
The bottle's label is all in French, and I believe the brand is Chevalier De Lafoux Sainte Anne. I'll cut to the chase. This wine is excellent. I was afraid it would be too sweet for me, but not at all. It had just a slight sweetness to it which I felt made it a perfect pairing for these scallops which also have a natural slight sweetness. Did you really think I'd go against Julia's recommendations though??
Overall- Not too sweet, not too dry. A perfect glass of wine for a summer patio night.
FUN FACTS ABOUT SCALLOPS
As somebody who spent 4 years of their life studying zoology, I couldn't help but put this section in my blog.
• There are over 400 species of scallops, and they all belong to the Family of Pectinidae.
• Scallops can swim by means of jet propulsion. They can quickly open and close their shell which produces a jet of water. The adductor muscle is what allows the shell to move open and shut by relaxing and contracting. The adductor muscle is the part that we eat!
• A food scientist named Harold McGee in his book "On Food and Cooking" explained that the sweetness in scallops is from amino acids converting into glucose when the scallops die.
• Scallops have lots of eyes! They have up to 200 tiny eyes that run along the edge of the mantle. The eyes are even capable of opening and contracting in response to light and shadows. This could be helpful when detecting the presense of a predator. What makes them really fun is that their eyes are bright blue!
• You may notice that some scallops are white while others are a pinkish color. Since the adductor muscle is located right next to the scallop's reproductive gland, the muscle will pick up its color from the gland. The male scallops' glands are white so their muscle is white as well. Females, however, produce an excess amount of a natural pigment called zeaxanthin when they're spawning. The nearby glands fills with this orange-red pigment and, as a consquence, their adductor muscle turns pink. When it comes to pink and white scallops, they are both safe and delicious to eat. According to Cook's Illustrated, the pink scallops are slightly sweeter than the white ones.
For this recipe:
HOW TO MAKE SCALLOPS GRATINEED WITH WINE, GARLIC, AND HERBS
For the first step, onion and butter are slowly cooked together. You want the onion to be tender but not browned. Then minced green onion and garlic are added into the buttery onions and cooked for a little longer. This gets set aside until later.
On to step two, we are drying those scallops and cutting them into thin slices. They get a sprinkling of salt & pepper and a rolling in flour. You want to be sure and shake off the excess flour so you don't end up with a clumpy breading on your scallops. You just want a fine dusting to help brown them.
Step three is my favorite part- sauteing the scallops in really hot butter and olive oil. Here's the thing. This is only my second time making scallops and my first time sauteing them. Initially, I thought it was strange that the scallops didn't get turned, but after some research, that seems like a pretty normal thing. I also went into panic mode when my butter and oil got so hot (which is what I wanted so not sure why it startled me) that it started splattering EVERYWHERE and without thinking I just threw all the scallops into the pan to get it to stop flying on to my camera. Now I'm realizing that I may should have sauteed the scallops in batches to achieve a better browning. I did get a light browning on some of the scallops but not evenly. Well, now I know for next time! At least these scallops are completely covered in a thick sauce and nobody will be able to tell.
The fourth step is adding in white vermouth + water, herbs, and the onion mixture to the skillet, covering, and allowing it to simmer. Afterwards, you can rapidly boil down the liquid if you want the sauce to be thicker. The seasonings are adjusted.
Step 5: The scallop mixture is spooned into scallop shells, sprinkled with Swiss cheese, and dotted with butter.
Here's a great thing about this recipe. You can do everything thing that I've already mentioned in advance. Just put the filled shells into the fridge and pull them out when you're ready to eat! The last step of this recipe is just putting the shells under the broiler to heat through and brown the cheese.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
• Julia Child's Coquilles St. Jacques a la Parisienne
• Julia Child's Sole a la Dieppoise
• Julia Child's Filets de Poisson Gratinés, à la Parisienne
You can find this recipe and all the other Julia Child recipes I make in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I. This cookbook and these recipes were written by Julia Child who co-authored with Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle and were published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Check out my Recipe Checklist to see a list of all my completed and pending recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking!
July 23, 2021 by Laura Bullock