I’m a huge fan of French food (as you might notice in my cookbook!) as well as seafood, so this coquilles Saint-Jacques recipe is right up my alley. It’s a fancy dish that can impress any dinner guest but it’s also fairly simple to throw together (which I’m always grateful for). I love making this for special occasions as well as weekend nights when I want something that feels a bit fancy but that won’t take forever to make.
What is Coquilles St-Jacques?
In French, coquilles Saint-Jacques means scallop or St. James scallop. Coquilles St Jacques is a French dish of scallops cooked in wine and served over pureed mushrooms in a scallop shell. Add cheese and broil until golden brown to finish.
The origins of this dish are unclear. Legend suggests that St. James (Saint-Jacques) once rescued a knight covered in scallops. In another version, people were transporting St. James’ remains from Spain to Jerusalem when a knight’s horse fell into the water and emerged with scallops covering him.
As a result of this legend, Medieval Christians often wore a scallop shell symbol on their clothes when visiting the shrine of St. James. It’s unclear how this symbol of St. James translated to a very specific scallop dish, but it’s delicious nonetheless!
What to Serve with Coquilles Saint-Jacques
This dish is most commonly served as an appetizer or lunch item. If you’re serving this scallop meal as the main course, pair it with one or two of the following:
- Roasted beet salad
- Roasted vegetables
- Egg souffle
- Pommes Anna (a dish of thinly sliced potatoes and butter)
- Piperade (a dish of peppers, possibly with eggs and ham for flavor)
I’ve also served Coquilles Saint-Jacques with a side salad of roasted asparagus and beets over arugula. I dress it with a light vinaigrette (lemon-dijon or balsamic work well) for a nice bright side to a richer dish.
French Cuisine to Inspire
If you’re a Julia Child fan like I am you’re sure to love these French dishes:
- Authentic French Onion Soup – I’ve always been a fan of French onion soup, so I decided to create a healthy version I could make at home. This recipe is simple to throw together and contains many healthy ingredients for a nourishing meal.
- Healthier French Onion Dip – We go through a lot of snacks in my house so I like to have healthy versions of crowd favorites on hand. While this isn’t exactly French cuisine, I think it fits well enough to include here for fellow French onion enthusiasts!
- French Pate – It’s taken me a while to learn to like organ meats but this pate recipe makes it much easier. My kids even enjoy it!
- Beef Bourguignon – This recipe is simpler than you might think and really tasty. It’s a simple beef stew made with red wine but tastes like it took hours to prepare.
- Charcuterie Board – This appetizer is one of my favorite ways to offer healthy fats, proteins, and fermented vegetables.
- Nicoise Salad – I love how beautiful this salad is as well as how many food groups it includes!
I love these savory and umami French dishes, but a bit of sweetness is also welcome. For dessert, try this raspberry tart made with almond flour to top off your French feast.
How to Make Coquilles Saint-Jacques Recipe
- 2 TBSP butter (or olive oil)
- 2 shallots (diced)
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 tsp Celtic salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 lb sea scallops
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (or cream from top of can of coconut milk)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 TBSP fresh tarragon (minced)
- 1 lemon (zested)
- ¼ cup smoked Gouda cheese (shredded)
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the shallots for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and saute another 8-10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and browned.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Add the scallops and cook 2-3 minutes per side, depending on size, until just cooked and firm. Do not overcook!
- Remove scallops and place on a plate.
- Add the cream to the skillet with the shallot and mushroom mixture and stir well to combine.
- Boil until reduced by half.
- In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk.
- Temper the egg yolk by adding small amounts of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolk while whisking until you’ve added about ¼ cup.
- Then, add the egg mixture to the skillet with the mushroom cream sauce and whisk quickly to combine.
- Remove from heat and add lemon zest and tarragon.
- Turn on the oven broiler.
- While it is heating, divide the mushrooms into the number of shells or ramekins that you will be using.
- Top with the scallops and the remaining cream sauce.
- Top with grated cheese.
- Broil for about 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
Do you like French food? What’s your favorite French dish?