General Discussion

Coquilles St. Jacques - what DOES it mean?


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General Discussion

Coquilles St. Jacques - what DOES it mean?

rworange | | Mar 9, 2007 10:30 PM

Someone on the SF board asked for restaurants serving coquilles St. Jacques which led to a question ... what type of preparation ... all that 'coquilles St. Jacques' means is 'scallop' in French.

Well, until that comment, all coquilles St. Jacques meant to me for most of my life was what is defined in this link ...

"[koh-KEEL sahn-ZHAHK; koh-KEE sahn-ZHAK] Classically served in a scallop shell, this special dish consists of scallops in a creamy wine sauce, topped with breadcrumbs or cheese and browned under a broiler."

When I look at lots of recipes in English, that seems to be what gets repeated ... scallops, wine, cheese, cream, mushrooms ... although one recipe gussied it up using black chanterelles ... sounds like an idea

I did find a lot of cool trivia about 'coquilles St. Jacques'. Themost repeated story is that a knight was saved from drowning by St. James. The knight emerged from the water, covered with shells ... and so the phrase "shells of St. James" also emerged.

Even found a recipe on a Catholic website that said since July 25th is St. James day, what better day to eat the dish

Other foods to eat on St James Day

"whoever consumed oysters on the day would not go without money for the year"

But I digress.

This really cool blog by someone living in France says that coquilles St. Jacques are a specific variety of scallop which is why menus specify that variety. Check out the other food links on the blog like markets. Very interesting info.

He mentions an old cookbook he has called ' La Cuisine du poisson' where there are 10 preparations of coquilles St. Jacques.

So, I would think if you said coquilles St. Jaques in any Enlish-speaking country ... there's a classic prep in mind and no further explanation necessary. While the only country that the preparation would need to be specified is in France.

Correct or incorrect?

SF Discussion

Gratuitous link about scallops in general

And some food-related trivia from the above link ... i never knew all this stuff about scallops before ...

"The pilgrim also carried a scallop shell with him and would present himself at churches, castles, abbeys etc. where he could expect to be given as much sustenance as he could pick up with one scoop. Probably he would be given oats, barley perhaps beer or wine. Thus even the poorest household could give charity without being overburdened"

Interesting modern pilgrimages, scallops and St. James Day

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