Welcome to Week 14 of the JC100 Celebration! Today also marks the kick off Julia Child Restaurant Week (from August 7 – 15th) where 100 restaurants around the country will pay homage to the culinary icon. Be sure to check out Julia Child on Facebook to see which restaurants are participating.
This week’s special recipe for the JC100 bloggers is Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale, or Scallops Gratinéed with Wine, Garlic and Herbs. Lucky for me my fish monger was open on the civic holiday yesterday (BC Day). Even luckier that he had a stash of scallop shells he was willing to part with…gratis!
Julia Child’s Recipe for Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale
|The JC100: Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale||
- 1/3 cup minced yellow onions
- 1 Tb butter
- 1 1/2 Tb minced shallot or green onions
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 1/2 lbs washed scallops
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup sifted flour in a dish
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 Tb olive oil
- A 10-inch enameled skillet
- 2/3 cup dry white wine, or 1/2 cup dry white vermouth and 3 Tb water
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp thyme
- 6 buttered scallop shells, or porcelain or pyrex shells, of 1/3 cup capacity
- 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 2 Tb butter cut into 6 pieces
- Cook the onions slowly in butter in a small saucepan for 5 minutes or so, until tender and translucent but not browned. Stir in the shallots or onions, and garlic, and cook slowly for 1 minute more. Set aside.
- Dry the scallops and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick. Just before cooking, sprinkle with salt and pepper, roll in flour, and shake off excess flour.
- Sauté the scallops quickly in very hot butter and oil for 2 minutes to brown them lightly.
- Pour the wine, or the vermouth and water, into the skillet with the scallops. Add the herbs and the cooked onion mixture. Cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Then uncover, and if necessary boil down the sauce rapidly for a minute until it is lightly thickened. Correct seasoning, and discard bay leaf.
- Spoon the scallops and sauce into the shells. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to gratiné.
- Just before serving, run under a moderately hot broiler for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through, and to brown the cheese lightly.
This good recipe may be prepared in advance and grantinéed just before serving. The proportions given are sufficient for a first course. Double them for a main course. Serve a chilled rosé, or a dry white such as côtes de Provence.
To prolong the shelf life of a scallop producers often immerse their catch in a preserving agent. While the agent (tripolphosphate) does help to keep up freshness, it also causes the scallop to absorb water which, in turn, affects its overall weight. To avoid paying for all that extra liquid, steer clear of any scallops that look like they’ve already been blanched. Instead, select ones that are beige to blush in colour and have a delicate, sweet aroma.
I used Catarina Bay scallops, a sustainable option from Mexico. I could tell by their rosy colour that they were untreated and, because they’re so tiny, I wouldn’t need to spend time cutting them into ¼ inch thick slices. Bonus!
With a fancy French name like Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale, you might expect this recipe to be complicated and fussy but it really wasn’t. It took me less than 20 minutes start to finish. (Okay – 25 if you count scrubbing the scallop shells.)
I was a little reluctant to let the scallops simmer for 5 minutes and then boil rapidly for another one, afraid that I might end up eating a scallop shell full of rubber erasers, but they were surprisingly tender, sweet, and creamy. I should know by now to trust Julia.
I used Parmigiano Reggiano instead of Swiss since that’s what I had on hand.
To serve, I filled shallow bowls with coarse salt then set the scallop shells on top.
I’ve poured over the list of Julia’s 100 most beloved recipes (compiled by a panel of culinary luminaries) this morning trying to guess what the last of the JC100 recipes will be. I think Julia’s perfect Génoise or Gâteau Paris would make a very fitting finale. Every birthday party needs a cake!
- The JC100: Week 1 – L’Omelette Roulèe
- The JC100: Week 2 – Mousseline au Chocolate
- The JC100: Week 3 – Coq au Vin
- The JC100: Week 4 – Salade Niçoise
- The JC100: Week 5 – Leek and Potato Soup, Two Ways
- The JC100: Week 6 – Reine de Saba
- The JC100: Week 7 – Fillets of Sole Meunière
- The JC100: Week 8 – Roast Chicken
- The JC100: Week 9 – Chantilly Aux Framboises
- The JC100: Week 10 – Bouillabaisse
- The JC100: Week 11 – Ratatouille
- The JC100: Week 12 – Provençal Tomatoes
- The JC100: Week 13 – Cheese Soufflé
Julia Child singlehandedly created a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julia’s unforgettable story – struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took them across the globe – unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a chef and a writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.
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