Can you have an exotic French dish like Coquilles Saint Jacques while on Dad’s Diet? Of course! One seashell serving is 374 and although it’s not filling alone, combined with a nice salad and maybe 50z of white wine, you’ve got a meal worthy of a romance novel for under 550. That’s perfect for one of your “days off”.
Originally thought to have been inspired by St. James (a.k.a. St. Jacques, or Santiago) who when wandering around on religious pilgrimages, took with him the shell of a sea scallop — the cuplike bottom half. If he asked for food or drink to sustain him along the way, he would only accept the small amount that fit in the shell. The scallop shell has been the symbol for him ever since. and is based on a legend that he once rescued a knight covered in scallops; a variation on the tale is that, while his remains were being transported to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the water and emerged covered in scallop shells.
Regardless of its origin, the dish is synonymous with fine dining, yet is fairly simple to create.
INGREDIENTS (to serve 6) If cooking for 4, reduce only the number of scallops, parsley, mushrooms. Keep other ingredients intact)
1 and 1/2 lb bay scallops (sometimes I add cocktail shrimp to add a little different flavour; about 1/3 mix)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp butter
6 oz mushrooms (cremini preferred)
2 shallots or green onions, chopped
3 tbsps butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter (melted)
- Lightly grease six 4″ baking shells or ceramic ramekins with butter. Place in cooking pan.
- In 3-quart saucepan, place scallops (shrimp), wine, parsley and salt. Add just enough water to cover scallops. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for about six minutes or until scallops are white (and shrimp pink).
- Remove scallops with slotted spoon; reserve liquid. Heat reserved liquid to boiling. Boil until reduced to 1 cup. strain and reserve.
- In the same saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms and shallots in butter 5 min, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Remove from saucepan.
- In the same saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in reserved liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in half-and-half, scallops, mushroom mixture and 1/4 cup of the cheese; heat through.
- In small bowl, toss bread crumbs and 2 tbsps melted butter. Divide scallop mixture among baking shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the bread crumbs.
- Set oven control to broil. Broil baking shells with tops 5″ from heat for 3-5 minutes or until crumbs are toasted.
This and other recipes are suggested for men following the Dad’s Diet strategy (copyright 2021). They are also served at the Artichoke Hart restaurant (New York Fried, copyright 2016) and sometimes served by 5-star chef London Cartwright (Menu of Passion, copyright 2017).