COQUILLES SAINT JACQUES
2 pounds sea scallops
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons flour, divided
3 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I love cremini or shiitake, but use your favorite)
½ cup cognac or brandy
¾ cup seafood or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ – 2 cups Jarlsberg or gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and remove the tough muscle from the outer edge (if has not already been done). Place them on a cutting board and season them with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour over the top and roll them around on the cutting board with your hands to fully coat.
Heat the butter in a large deep skillet over medium high to high heat until it is bubbling. Add the scallops in an even layer, careful not to crowd them (or they will steam instead of sear). Cook for 2-3 minutes (depending on size) on the first side until a golden-brown sear has formed. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side until seared. Remove from the pan and set aside. Note – they do not need to be cooked through and will finish cooking in the oven.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan drippings and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and have released their moisture. Add the cognac to the pan and cook, stirring, until the liquid is all absorbed by the mushrooms.
Add the stock, heavy cream, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to the pan and bring to a boil. Let it cook at a low boil for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently until a rich thick sauce forms and coats the back of a spoon. Add the parsley to the sauce along with the scallops (and any juices that have formed on the plate). Stir to coat the scallops in the sauce.
Preheat your oven broil to high and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place large scallop shells or ramekins on the baking sheet and spoon the scallop and mushroom mixture into the shells (or ramekins) *. Top each shell with about ¼-⅓ cup of the shredded Jarlsberg cheese. Top the cheese with about 1 heaping tablespoon of the panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle the tops generously with the olive oil.
Place the baking pan with the shells about 5-6” under the broiler. Let them broil for 4-5 minutes but watch them closely as they cook quickly, and you may want to adjust the shells about 2 minutes into the cook time to make sure they brown evenly. They are done when the cheese is melted and bubbly and the tops are toasted and golden brown.
Serve hot, garnished with more parsley and a light green salad on the side. YUM!!
*Note – you could also make this dish in a casserole dish.