Thursday, September 10, 2015

Coquilles St Jacques a la Parisienne

     Paris Style Scallops St Jacques!
     There are many variations of the Coquille St Jacque recipe.  Some variations are regional and some are chef interpretations.  Usually the sauce is where changes are made from one chef to the next.  For example, a local wine might be substituted for dry vermouth in a local Coquille St Jacque recipe.
     While at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School, I was asked to cook a Coquille St Jacque in the style of Provence (Coquille St Jacque Provencal).  The instructor specified the tomato sauce version instead of the older Provence style butter sauce variation.  Usually no potato accompanies the Provence style Coquille St Jacque version, but I lined the plate with Duchesse Potato just to jazz up the eye appeal.  The lead chef liked the recipe interpretation.  In reality, the Duchesse Potatoes were out of sync with the Provence Tomato Sauce coquille recipe.

     As one can see, there are a few classic Coquille St Jacque recipes, but there is only one Coquilles St Jacques a la Parisienne!  What sets the Parisienne version apart from the rest is the presentation style and the refinement of the sauce.
     For Coquilles St Jacques a la Parisienne, a large clean scallop shell or a mini casserole dish can be used.  The dish is lined with a border of piped Duchesse Potato.  There are usually no mushroom pieces in the sauce, because the Vermouth Crème is strained.  The sauced scallops are placed on the Duchesse Potato lined dish then it is roasted till golden brown highlights appear on both the sauce and potatoes.

     Duchesse Potato Lined Casserole Dish:
     This recipe yields enough duchesse potato to line 2 to 3 large scallop shells or mini casserole dishes.  
     The potato should be close to room temperature before adding the egg yolk.
     Step 1:  Boil 1 peeled large russet potato (about 8 oz) , till it is soft.
     Drain off the water.
     Thoroughly mash the potato.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Safflower Saffron Water or 1 pinch of turmeric.  (Optional for a yellow color and more flavor.)
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1 large egg yolk.
     Whisk till the ingredients are blended.
     Step 3:  Place the Duchesse Potato mixture in a star tipped pastry bag.
     Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to stiffen the mixture.
     Step 4:  Pipe miniature star swirl peaks of Duchesse Potato around the border of a shallow casserole dish or a large sea scallop shell.
     Step 5:  *This step helps to prevent the shape of the piped potatoes from being damaged.  Some chefs prefer to chill or freeze the potatoes till they are stiff.  This step also ensures that the potatoes finish at the same time as the scallops.
     Bake the Duchesse Potato lined casserole dish in a 350ºF oven till the potatoes become firm with no golden color.  (About 3 or 4 minutes.)
     Remove the casserole dish from the oven and set it aside.

     Sauce For Coquille St Jacques a la Parisienne:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of sauce.  (Enough for 2 appetizer portions.
     Step 1:  Make a roux with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and an equal amount of flour in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Constantly stir the roux as it cooks to a pale blonde color.
     Set the roux aside
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Gently sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of mushroom peelings and pieces. 
     Briefly sauté till the mushrooms start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of Dry Vermouth.
     Add 1/3 cup of fumet (Whitefish Broth) or scallop juices.  
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme leaves.
     Add 1 small pinch of saffron.
     Step 5:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Add just enough roux to thicken the sauce to a very thin sauce consistency.
     *Save any extra roux for another recipe!
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 7:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container and set it aside.

     Coquilles St Jacques a la Parisienne:
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 10 to 12 medium size bay scallops .  (5 to 6 ounces)
     Gently sauté the scallops till they are halfway cooked. 
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the half cooked scallops in the Duchesse Potato lined casserole dish. 
     Spoon a generous amount of the reserved Vermouth Crème Sauce over the scallops.
     Step 3:  Place the casserole dish in a 350ºF oven. 
     Roast till the scallops are fully cooked and a few golden brown highlights appear on the potatoes and sauce. 
     Step 4:  Set the casserole dish on a doily lined serving plate. 
     Garnish with lightly blanched thin julienne carrot and an Italian Parsley sprig.  (optional)
     Delicious and elegant!

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