holiday entertaining – coquilles st jacques

by Sharon Santoni
preparing coquilles st jacques
The holidays in France are more than just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they are an extended period of time when we love to receive friends and family for some special time of sharing, and eating and drinking well.
It is rarely about quantity in the plate, but rather quality.  We eat to season, and savour every morsel.
Today, for the last in my holiday entertaining series I’d like to tell you about Coquilles st Jacques or scallops – a very firm favourite of mine.  I love the way they can adapt to a first course or a main course, how well they fit to pasta, to risotto, or just on their own.  Here is one of my very favourite recipes, I hope you enjoy.
8 fresh scallops, shells too if possible
1 shallot, minced
½ cup white wine
4 tablespoons butter
Olive oil
½ teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
½ of shallot
Clean the scallops. Remove the extra bit of muscle –all you have to do is rip it off.   If your scallops feel gritty, run them under cold water and pat them dry before cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
preparing coquilles st jacques
Heat a frying pan over medium-high and add a pat of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil
to coat the bottom.
Once the pan is hot, add the scallops. They should sizzle!  Fry on one side for around 2 minutes, then flip and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes. Poke it with your finger (cautiously). It should almost be firm.
Remove cooked scallops from pan and lower to medium heat. Add another pat of butter to the pan and melt it. Add the shallots and cook for thirty seconds. Pour in the white wine and add the thyme. Reduce until thickened, about halfway.
Add a tablespoon of butter and whisk until incorporated. Reduce very slightly and remove from heat.
Taste and season accordingly. Add scallops back to pan and heat on low just until warm.  These are especially beautiful served in their shells with some arugula or roquette   and fresh herbs!
preparing coquilles st jacques

with thanks to Alex Roberts for creating this recipe and shooting the wonderful pictures


Colleen Taylor December 18, 2015 - 9:14 pm

Beautiful presentation, a favorite of min as well. Thank you for the recipe! X

Karena December 18, 2015 - 10:18 pm

Sharon, I adore scallops and this is such a delicious traditional recipe! Thank you so much for sharing and have a wondrous weekend!

The Arts by Karena
The Reason for the Season

Marilyn December 18, 2015 - 10:45 pm

They look and sound quite delicious!

Vicky from Athens December 18, 2015 - 11:35 pm

So tickled to get this recipe! We love scallops! I have some huge beautiful scallop shells that I picked up off the shore in Port en Bessin. I will serve the scallops in those. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon December 19, 2015 - 12:15 am

What a great dish and beautiful presentation. I am envious of your great seafood. It is difficult to find a scallop here that has not been frozen. They are almost impossible to get a good sear on them once they have been treated/frozen.

LA CONTESSA December 19, 2015 - 12:43 am

OH< I have a WoNDERFUL story about your cutting board!I first saw them in FRANCE……..GOD where were we it was 1992 and I lived in FLORENCE.I drove with my two boys and a girlfriend from the STATES and her little boy to FRANCE through all those tunnels……………It was a SHEPPARDS cottage near ORANGE we stayed in on a compound that was old and FAB!The kitchen had these small boards I went crazy over……………..had never seen so small before anyway back in FLORENCE I found them at COIN!You could of heard my scream of delight…….."JUST LIKE FRANCE" I bought maybe 6……..still have ALL of them and use them every day!!!SO< now when you pull your boards out you will do a little CONTESSA dance for me??!!
I had a cooking class HERE that the FRENCH BASKETEER put on and she made these TOO!I Loved them and they were so simple!!!

june December 19, 2015 - 2:37 pm

would you please let me know where I can purchase those small cutting boards? I’m not familiar with COIN? I live in the U.S. in California.

Denise December 19, 2015 - 1:02 am

Bonne Fete Sharon.
That’s the way I fix my scallopds and I serve them on that seashell.
Love your blog , no story this holiday !!

franki December 19, 2015 - 1:33 am

YUM!!! In any language!! franki

Lillian Plummer December 19, 2015 - 5:04 am

You make it look so easy, may just have to get out my ceramic clam dishes and get cooking.
The Contessa had the petite boards back in 1992….. Yikes how behind am I ?
Just received your book from Amazon so it will be a good read over the weekend curled up on my sofa with a glass of Margaret River white.

Betsy December 19, 2015 - 3:19 pm

they look delicious…and what a stunning presentation, too!

Nancy December 19, 2015 - 5:02 pm

Oh Yummmmm! I love scallops!
In our family, Christmas is extended as well with Gift exchanges, lunches, get-togethers, and simple dinners as we receive friends and family throughout the season.
Your simple dinner looks delicious and elegant…thanks.

Sandra, Maison De Jardin December 19, 2015 - 6:40 pm


This looks absolutely wonderful. Will give your recipe a try, as was planning seafood for New Years Eve. You and your family have a beautiful Christmas and all the best in the New Year.

Keep your wonderful blog going for all of us who love it so much. You and all your hard work are much appreciated!

The Enchanted Home December 20, 2015 - 3:14 pm

Looks so yummy and appetizing, also a beautiful presentation which is always important to me:)

Ofelia Killeen December 24, 2015 - 5:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe, I love it! Also, I bought you book and i am delight reading it. Merry Christmas !! to you and family <3

Ofelia Killeen December 24, 2015 - 5:42 pm

Happy New Year!! Hope you can publish another book .


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