Coquilles St. Jacques

Time: 1 hour

When I was growing up, my parents would take us to a fancy restaurant in Cold Lake, Alberta, called Fridays. My favorite dish was their Coquilles St. Jacques. To me, this was fancy, delicious, comforting food… best day (Jour Meilleur)

Music Selection: OrelSan – Jour Meilleur

Ingredients:

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

2 Tbsp butter

¼ cup sour cream

1 tsp dried or fresh (finely chopped) parsley

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk

Salt/pepper

16 medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined

340 g small scallops (about 20)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot, finely diced

1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

Salt/pepper

¼ cup light colored sherry or white wine

Fresh parsley

¾ cup shredded gruyere or mozzarella cheese

Directions:

In medium sized pot, fill it with water. Boil the water with the potatoes, until they are soft. Drain.

Add 2 Tbsp butter, sour cream, parsley and smoked paprika. Mash the potatoes well (you can beat them with beaters if  you like). Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, make the bechamel sauce by melting the remaining 2 Tbsp butter on medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it forms a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until thick and bubbling. Salt/pepper.

In a small skillet, add the olive oil and saute the shallot and mushrooms. Add the sherry and let cook down. Add in the shrimp and scallops to cook if they are not cooked (do not add if they are cooked), but not fully or they will get chewy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In oven proof shallow individual dishes (these are usually on a large clam shell), evenly place the cooked seafood. Add enough of the bechamel sauce for one serving. Do this for each dish (should be enough for 4 people).

Top with the sauteed mushrooms and shallot. Then cover with bechamel sauce.

Sprinkle the cheese over the middle of the dishes.

With an icing bag, with a large tip, pipe the potatoes around the edges in a scallop pattern of each dish.

Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling. You can broil it for a short time to brown even more. Serve immediately with a wonderful, chilled glass of champagne or white wine.

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