Coquilles Saint Jacques – Julia Child Recipes

coquilles saint jacques on a white plate

Julia Child’s Classic Recipe for Coquilles Saint Jacques

A luscious appetizer of scallops gratineed with wine, garlic, and herbs.

Cuisine: French

Chef: Julia Child

Makes: 6 servings

Pair With: Côtes de Provence

Coquilles Saint Jacques

About this Recipe

Julia’s version of Coquilles Saint Jacques can be prepared in advance and gratinéed 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.

This recipe is excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc as part of the JC100 campaign.


  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onions
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp 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 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • A 10-inch enamel 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

Raw uncooked scallops for coquilles saint jacques, shown in vintage metal bowl over gray texture background. Top view.

Ingredients for coquilles st jacques including fresh thyme on white background

Step-by-Step Instructions

1.  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.

2.  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.

3.  Sauté the scallops quickly in very hot butter and oil for 2 minutes to brown them lightly.

4.  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.

5.  Spoon the scallops and sauce into the shells. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to gratiné.

6.  Just before serving, run under a moderately hot broiler for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through, and to brown the cheese lightly.

Take this half-day, small-group food-tasting tour through Paris. Discover the Left Bank landmarks that Julia loved and frequented, including the Parisian home where she learned the art of French cooking and the iconic Café de Flore.

Coquilles Saint Jacques Recipe Tips

About Scallops

To prolong the shelf life of a scallop, producers often immerse their catch in a preserving agent. While the agent (tripolyphosphate) 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 color and have a delicate, sweet aroma.

What to Serve with Coquilles St Jacques

Coquilles Saint Jacques is most often served as a first course or appetizer, with a glass of chilled rosé, or a dry white such as côtes de Provence.

For an elegant lunch or light dinner, double the portions and serve with steamed asparagus, sea beans (if you can find them), or a simple salad made with Little Gem lettuce.

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