KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Coquilles Saint Jacques aka Scallops
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Friday, May 06, 2005
Coquilles Saint Jacques aka Scallops

I love shopping at my farmers market if for no other reason than seeing food in their natural state or as much as they can be such as just picked carrots with obligatory clumps of dirt still clinging on, tiny potatoes in crates of earth, and scallops still in their shell.

My friend Steve brought his teenage kids to Paris recently and I loved the expressions of awe when they saw for the first time a scallop still in it's shell with a bright orange roe sack, not the pristine sanitary little white disks that we are so familiar with.

My summer in Cape Cod many moons ago working in a seafood restaurant shucking clams, oysters and scallops finally came in handy as did my experience last summer on a lobster boat in Brittany. So with oyster knife in hand, I took a few home, whipped them out of their shells, and gave them a quick sauté in olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar. La belle vie!

My biggest challenge in creating menus is always the appetizer. Here is one that I learned in cooking school that looks harder than it is and incorporates techniques that you can apply to other foods. Long recipes intimidate me but I did learn to break it up into items, steps and processes that make them more manageable. This recipe involves 3 processes: remoulade dressing, celeriac-fennel salad, and celeriac-parsley sauce. You can make everything ahead of time, then at the last minute, sauté the scallops and you have a beautiful plate.

Seared Scallops & Celeriac Salad in an Orange-Mustard Dressing ~ Salade des Saint Jacques Poelées et Celéri Rémoulade à l'Orange

Seared scallops and celeriac salad is a pretty standard combination though this one is enhanced by the emerald green celeriac-parsley sauce. If you are just making a small amount, either cut the celeriac by hand or use a mandoline if you have one. Just don't cut the tip of your thumb off like I did...but that's another story.

step 1: remoulade dressing -- this is a fruit juice reduction (or syrup) combined with mayo and mustard

¾ cup sherry
2/3 cup orange juice (fresh if possible)
juice of 1 lemon
zest of ½ lemon
zest of ½ orange

• combine in a pan and reduce til syrupy. strain and set aside to cool.

½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 2 tsp if you have fresh)
salt and pepper

• combine and whisk into cooled syrup and season to taste. set aside. this can be done a day ahead.

step 2: celeraic-fennel salad

5 oz celeraic, cut into matchsticks (julienned)
2½ oz fennel, cut into matchsticks (julienned)
juice of ½ lemon
½ granny smith apple, peeled and box grated on large holes (do this at the last minute)
2 radishes, cut into matchsticks (julienned) for garnish

• combine celeriac, fennel and lemon juice.
• grate apple into celeriac-fennel and toss. set aside. can be made a few hours ahead.
• add remoulade dressing to celeriac-fennel salad a little bit at a time as you don't want to overdress the salad.

step 3: celeriac-parsley sauce

5 oz celeriac, peeled and diced
½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced very thin
dash lemon juice
pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter

• cover celeriac, ginger with water, add lemon juice, salt. cook til tender. add butter and blend til smooth. set aside. this can be done ahead of time.

½ bunch parsley
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon honey
½ cup vegetable broth
1 rib of celery, cut into tiny dice (brunoise)
salt & pepper

• de-stem parsley and sauté leaves in oil til limp. take out of oil and set on paper towels.
• in small blender, puree parsley with honey and broth. season to taste. set aside.
• cook celery in boiling water til tender but not mushy. shock in cold water to stop cooking. set aside. this can be done ahead.

step 4: scallops and serve

16 scallops (4 per person -- if very large or thick cut scallops in half and reduce number to 8)
vegetable oil
¼ cup sherry vinegar

• add remoulade dressing (step 1) to celeriac-fennel salad (step 2) a little bit at a time as you don't want to overdress the salad.
• combine blended celeriac, parsley puree, and celery dice (step 3).
• heat pan and add a few drops of non-flavored oil. sauté scallops til brown and caramelized. flip scallops and add a few drops of sherry vinegar to pan.
• spoon dressed celeriac salad onto plate. top with radish garnish
• spoon dollops of celeriac-parsley sauce onto plate and top with seared scallops

Bon appètit!


Blogger Kim Goodfriend said...

Yum! Scallops in their shells are so beautiful. I remember the first time I saw them served with their roe in New Zealand. I didn't know what to think. Too bad they are so difficult to find this way here in the states.

5/06/2005 10:14 PM


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