Posts Tagged With: Scallop

136/365: National Coquilles St. Jacques Day

You’ll have to come out of your shell in order to enjoy today’s food holiday. May 16 is National Coquilles St. Jacques Day!

Or, as I referred to it when I first learned of it, National what St. who day?! What can I say, my French is a little rusty. (By the way, considering these are American food holidays, there sure have been a lot of French dishes celebrated. Must be a lobbyist named Pierre working his ass off up on Capitol Hill). Coquille St. Jacques, it turns out, translates to “Scallops St. James.” I’m still not sure how James is the same as Jacques, but then again, I’ve never understood how Dick is derived from Richard, so it’s a moot point. Anyway, once I learned the dish was based on scallops, I breathed a sigh of relief. I love scallops!

St. James was an apostle who, according to legend, once rescued a drowning knight covered in scallops. That dude failed the first rule of Knighthood 101: always remove your armor prior to swimming. No doubt he never lived down the fact that he was attacked by a bunch of fierce, bloodthirsty bivalves. In any case, St. James became associated with scallops, and medieval Christians who made the pilgrimage to his shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain often wore scallop shells on their clothing, or carried them along. The grooves on the shell supposedly represent the different paths the pilgrims would take to arrive at the same destination: the cathedral. When the scallop shell was presented at a church or castle, the pilgrim was allowed to take as much food as he could carry in a single scoop. The pilgrim would walk away with a scallop shell full of oats, barley, or another grain. Or – if he were really lucky – beer or wine.

Coquilles St. Jacques is traditionally made with scallops poached in white wine. They are then placed atop a scallop shell over sauteed mushrooms and topped with poaching liquid, cream, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and broiled until crisp. Pretty fancy! Only, we were plum out of scallop shells. Fortunately, I found a recipe that allows you to use ramekins instead. Whew! It turned out delicious, too. Which is great, considering neither of us had ever heard of the dish before embarking upon this challenge.

Coquilles St. Jacques

Categories: Seafood | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

71/365: National Baked Scallops Day

Three days after celebrating crabmeat, we honor another delicious seafood: March 12 is Baked Scallops Day! Scallops have long been a personal fave of mine (much like crab), so this has been a fun past few days.

Scallops are characterized by a brightly colored, fan-shaped shell. The word comes from the French escalope, which means “shell.” It doesn’t get much more literal than that. Scallops symbolize female fertility; many paintings of the goddess Venus include a scallop shell to help identify her. The scallop shell also symbolizes the setting sun, and Greedy Ass Big Oil Conglomerates (it is the logo for Shell). But we’ll overlook that, since the meat is so damn tasty. Scallops are considered a delicacy around much of the world, prized for their mild, sweet flavor and nutritious properties. In the U.S., we generally eat the abductor muscle, the white and meaty part of the scallop. In other parts of the world, scallops are eaten whole (though presumably this does not include the shell). Scallops are broken down into two different categories: bay scallops and sea scallops. The main difference is in the size; sea scallops are considerably larger, making them a better choice for pan searing. Scallop season runs from November to March, but frozen scallops are available year-round.

I picked up some sea scallops from the seafood counter at Fred Meyer after work. They were $18.99 a pound, which is just a tad pricey, so I asked for 1/2 a pound. Chuckled when I ended up with a whopping 4 scallops. But there are four of us this week, since I’ve got my kids, so I simply baked the scallops as an appetizer, and we had fish (cod) for dinner. The recipe was pretty simple and, as you might guess, delicious!

Baked Scallops

Categories: Seafood | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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