the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

16
May

Coquilles Saint-Jacques Day

Posted by Brittany

Coquilles Saint-Jacques DayCoquilles Saint-Jaques (“Saint James’s scallops”) is a french dish featuring baked scallops, butter, cream, cheese, mushrooms, and wine. The meal derives it’s name from the legend of Saint James, who was purported to have rescued a drowning knight who emerged from the water covered in scallops. Scallop shells became the emblem of St. James and Christians making the pilgrimage to his shrine in Santiago de Compostela, Spain sometimes wore a symbolic shell during their journey. May 16th is National Coquilles Saint-Jaques Day, a chance to celebrate and enjoy this rich french course and its equally rich history.

Much to Chris’s despair, I’m not a fan of seafood. I always considered my preference for chicken and beef a plus (it makes me a cheap date!), but I see how Chris’s eyes light up when we drive by seafood restaurants. But I’m not a total bore — my ex-husband liked seafood even more than Chris does, and he talked me into trying a few things, mostly calamari, oysters, and scallops. Unfortunately for Chris, it only took trying these things once for me to decide that, well, once was enough. So, up until today, I’ve limited my fish and seafood to the occasional cooked shrimp or two, monkfish, and tuna fish.

Whatever my misgivings with seafood, Chris was looking forward to preparing a scallop dish for today’s “unofficial.” I found a simple recipe for Coquilles Saint-Jacques, and though we were able to remove the mushrooms (Chris absolutely will not eat mushrooms under any circumstances), there was no way for me to get around ingesting some seafood. Chris took the lead in the kitchen and was surprised that the dish was so easy to create, considering so many french recipes require more effort than either of us is usually willing to exert. The meal did take awhile to whip up, and created an odor that was not entirely appealing so we were both a little worried. But when he worked his final magic and removed it from the oven, complete with it’s golden brown crust of bread crumbs, the shells of St. James looked beautiful. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, so I served myself a huge salad and added just a spoonful or two of the creamy scallop mixture. But much to my surprise I ended up going back for seconds! Chris and I both enjoyed this unique tasting recipe and are thinking we might even make it next time we have company for dinner. My only regret is that I forgot I had little scallop-shaped dishes that would have been the perfect vessel for our consumption (the meal is traditionally served on similar plates), but at least I’ll be sure to remember them for next time!

Now we just have to file the recipe away in our junk drawer or some other over-stuffed nook or cranny of the house — after all, tomorrow is Pack Rat Day!

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