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(Experiment 294) Coquille st-jacques

So this is my go-to “I don’t want to cook tonight” meal. I make them in batch, freeze them and take one when needed. Serve this up with an army of veggies or a nice salad and you are done.

For this recipe I used fresh seafood, it is not a requirement and it will cost you about double the price if you do so. So why am I using fresh seafood? Of course, it tastes better when using fresh ingredients, is it worth double the price? I think it does.

While this recipe is fairly easy to make, it takes about an hour to make either you make 4 or 10. My advice is to double the recipe and freeze the rest so you don’t have to redo the recipe for a while.

For clarity I have split the recipe into 3 ( potato, filling, and bechamel). This will give you 6 portions to fill 6 oz containers.

You need 

Potato

  • 4-6 potatoes ( I prefer to do 6 and have extra than be sorry)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • ~100ml milk

Filling

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 200-400g seafood (shrimp, lobster, etc)*
  • 300g scallops*
  • 1-2tbsp Shallot
  • 100ml white wine**
  • 3-4 sliced Mushroom
  • 1/4 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill***
  • Optional cheese

* if seafood is frozen make sure to thaw it the day before
**Please don’t use the cheapest possible wine you can buy, it will taste cheap. No need to buy a 30$ bottle either
***If you use dried dill, only put half

Never thaw seafood using hot water or at room temperature. This promotes the growth of bad stuff. Either in cold water or overnight in the fridge.

Bechamel

  • ½ minced onion or shallot
  • 500ml milk
  • 56g room temp butter
  • 4tbps flour
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • oil

Instructions

  1. First, you need to make the mashed potatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While this heats up, peel the potatoes and cut them in pieces, more or less of the same size so they cook evenly. When the water boils, throw in a couple of spoons of salt and put the potatoes in. Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes carefully ( if you leave water it will be soupy)  add the butter and mash. Likely the potatoes will be too dry at this point, adjust with milk. Don’t put too much, you want smooth but not liquid. Adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
  3. Using a pastry bag, decorate the edge of your coquille container with mashed potatoes
  4. For the bechamel, you need to make a beurre manié. To do so you simply mix flour with butter on a 1:1 ratio. Put that in a bowl and mash it with a fork, it will make a paste. Note that you should not need all of it, I always make a 1/4 more in case I need to adjust.
  5. Heat a pan over medium heat and soften the onion with a bit of oil for a couple of minutes. Stir the milk and nutmeg in. Note that you don’t want to boil the milk here. After a few minutes add half your beurre manié and whisk. You want a thick consistency. If it’s too watery still add more beurre manié. Tip if you want to know when ready, using a spoon or whatever you have, if you dip it and run your finger on it and you can still see if a few seconds after, it’s ready. Remove from heat and reserve. Remember to give it a stir every couple of minutes just so it doesn’t solidify
  6. Now let’s attack the filling, heat a pan then put some butter and soften the shallot for about a minute. Then add the uncooked seafood and mix for another minute. Add your mushroom and let cook 2-3 minutes while mixing. You can add lemon juice, this will prevent the mushroom from turning brown.  Cook for a few minutes then add dill and wine. Let it cook while mixing for 2 minutes, then add your cooked seafood. At this point, you should still have liquid in the pan. What you can do is to reserve everything in a bowl, leaving only the juice in the pan, boil it and reduce it. This makes it more concentrated and will pack a punch to flavor the bechamel.
  7. Dump your bechamel in the pan and mix.  Do a taste test and adjust (if needed), this is your last chance. Dump back all reserved seafood back in the pan and mix it with the sauce.
  8. Fill the inside of your coquille container with the filling
  9. At this point, you can opt to add cheese, I prefer without.
  10. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350F and cook for 20-30 minutes.Freezing :

    These freezes super easily, just don’t bake them. When you want to cook them, put them in the oven at 350F  and bake for 30-35 minutes

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