Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coquille Saint Jacques......My way.

The Coquille Saint Jacques shell fish is a hermaphrodite molusque which has two shells: the top one looks like the "Shell" Petroleum sign seen at gas stations and a similar flat shell on the bottom side. It has the orange or red part called the coral or Roe belonging to the female which is very good,  and then there is the Scallop. The male has a white coral which is not edible. Scallops are widely eaten fresh or frozen everywhere....
Fresh Coquille Saint Jacques cannot be found locally so we have to buy the scallops frozen when available.
By the way this is high season for the Coquille Saint Jacques so if you live anywhere around Britany or Normandie in France buy them and freeze them for future use.
During my stay in France I had the chance to eat fresh Coquille Saint Jacques bought straight from the fish monger. So I have quite a collection of empty shells.
When I don't use scallops. I usually use seafood. Calamari, cuttlefish, mussels, fish, shrimps, cut in small pieces, cooked in a little water to produce a court-bouillon I use in conjunction with some milk or cream to prepare a sort of a white sauce.
You will need:
Serves 4 - 6
-  200 gms of squid (kalamari) cut small.
-  200 gms mussels cut small.
-  200 gms shrimp cut in small pieces.
-  20 gms. of good fresh butter.
-  40 gms of flour
-  300 ml of water to boil the seafood in.
-  150 ml of  fresh cream.
-  1/4 cup dry white wine.
-  2 cloves garlic finely chopped.
-  1/2 onion finely chopped.
-  1/2 tsp. thyme.
-  1 bay leaf.
-  1/2 tsp. nutmeg.
- Salt, pepper, and half chili finely chopped.
-  2 - 3 cups of hot cooked white Basmati rice.
Method:
-  Pour the 300 ml of water to a shallow pan with cover, add the kalamari, add the bay leaf, onion, garlic and white wine and thyme cover and simmer till tender. Add shrimp and mussels. The two latter cook very quickly. Strain, keep the court-bouillon , and the seafood mixture. Set aside.
-  In a little sauce pan melt butter, add flour to make a roux, stir and cook the flour and add the court-bouillon and cream slowly to make a thick but still fluid sauce. Add all the seafood omitting the bay leaf. Add salt pepper, and nutmeg. Stir.
-  Fill each shell with the sauce / seafood mixture and bake in very hot oven until a nice color is obtained.
-  Garnish with red chili pieces and finely chopped parsley.
-  Fill another similar shell with plain white rice sprinkled with parsley only.
-  Serve both shells touching at their base.
Suggested wine:  A dry white wine or rose.
Enjoy!
Stelio
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