On Thursday I attempted to tackle a recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Rebecca picked it out at the beginning of the week: Coquilles St. Jacques A La Provençale (Scallops Gratinéed with Wine, Garlic, and Herbs).
I’ll admit, buying 1.5 lbs. of scallops for this recipe did make me go slightly over budget on groceries this week. Seafood is expensive. However, with some savvy choices here and there, I only went over by a bit. Now, back to the recipe.
Gratinée means to cover with cheese and bake/broil. For some reason I’m always a little reticent when I read seafood recipes that involve cheese. There’s something about mixing seafood with cheese that doesn’t immediately sound tasteful in my imagination. But then I remember lobster mac & cheese. I love that. Maybe cheese and seafood isn’t all bad after all. And anyway, would Julia Child steer me wrong? She never has before.
I want to skip ahead for a minute to my first bite.
I am not a trained cook. I have never been to cooking school. But I do love cooking and I can (usually) follow a recipe with fidelity. When I took my first bite of this dish, I forgot that I was sitting in my own home and felt, momentarily, like I was in a French restaurant. The recipe is that good.
And that moment of transportation was what Julia was after all along, wasn’t it? To allow the “servantless American cook” to be transported to a French dinner table. This recipe delivers.
A few notes:
- This dish would look gorgeous in scallop shells (see link to recipe) but without any on hand, I used ramekins. They are oven safe, and work very well.
- The recipe calls for 1/8 tsp thyme. I used fresh thyme from the garden and boosted it to about 1/2 tsp. I wasn’t sorry.
- If you buy smaller scallops, you may have to brown them in two batches, unless you have a very large skillet with a cover.