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Ina Garten’s Coquilles St. Jacques from "Make It Ahead"

Ina Garten’s Coquilles St. Jacques from "Make It Ahead"
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Ina Garten’s Library of Cookbooks can be purchased by simply clicking on the book jacket above.

Ina’s take on this French classic: Scallops in a creamy sauce with a hint of curry under a crust of bread crumbs and cheese. 

I am a huge fan of Ina Garten or as a friend of mine once said “What’s not to like?”  Ina makes great food accessible to even the most amateur cook.  This may be because Ina herself is a completely self-taught home cook.  She knows her audience.  Her recipes are timeless and her selection of them inspired and inspiring. “Make it Ahead” (Clarkson Potter 2014) was her ninth cookbook. All of its recipes can be put together hours before dinner guests arrive. All the host or hostess has to do is put food in the oven and take it out.  Ina points out that many foods benefit from ‘aging’ in the refrigerator. There the flavors mix and meld. This recipe is a prime example.   Served in individual gratin dishes with a simple green salad and a glass of white wine make a perfect meal for company or just someone you love.   And as much as I love Ina, I love a good food story and this is one of the best.

All roads lead to Santiago de Compostela 

Coquille is the French word for shell. St. Jacques is French for St. James. 

Legend has it that this disciple of Christ found his way to Spain where he preached the Gospel.  After some time there, St. James decided to return to the Holy Land where he was soon beheaded.  His disciples managed to get his body to Jaffa where they found a stone ship, which miraculously brought them back to Galicia.  After much struggle with a pagan queen, these disciples were permitted to bury St. James in the town of Santiago de Compostela. The place became famous for pilgrimages that are still undertaken by over 100,000 people every year. There were five designated routes in France alone for the pilgrims to take including one that went through what is now the town of Coquille in southwestern France.  In its parish church, pilgrims were given a Scallop Shell, a Coquille St. Jacques, symbolic of their journey over the Way of St. James. 

According to Larousse, however,  Coquille St. Jacques is used to mean scallops generically

Scallops are plentiful in the Bay of Biscay, the closest body of salt water to Santiago de Compostela. So Coquille could lose its bragging rights.  Larousse also points out that the dish has endless variations based on whatever sauce is used with them.  Here is Ina’s easy recipe. And after it, links to some other Ina favorites.


Ina Garten's Coquilles St. Jacques

May 31, 2021
: 8
: 40 min
: 20 min
: 1 hr
: Easy

Ina’s take on this French classic: Scallops in a creamy sauce with a hint of curry under a crust of bread crumbs and cheese.


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups seafood stock, clam juice or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and diced, approximately 1 cup
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded, sliced
  • ¼ cup brandy or Cognac
  • 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs (approximately 6 slices white bread, crusts removed, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor)
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds bay scallops, or quartered sea scallops, abductor's muscles removed
  • Step 1 Set a saucepan over medium heat, and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in it. When it foams, add the flour, and cook for approximately 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the stock, and whisk again, until it is smooth and thick. Add the cream, curry powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the sauce just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Put 3 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. When it melts and foams, add the shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are clear and tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushroom caps, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have released their liquid and are just starting to brown. Now add the brandy or Cognac, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the alcohol has mostly evaporated. Then add a teaspoon of salt to the mixture and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and stir again to combine. Finally, add the mushroom mixture to the cream sauce, and set aside.
  • Step 3 Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and Gruyère in a large bowl, stir to combine, then moisten the mixture with the olive oil, stirring again to combine.
  • Step 4 Use the last tablespoon of butter to grease 6 1 1/2-cup gratin dishes. Divide the scallops evenly among them and top with equal amounts of cream and mushroom sauce. Top each gratin dish with a handful or two of the bread-crumb mixture. Place dishes on a sheet tray, cover gently with foil or plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to a day.
  • Step 5 When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400. Remove cover from sheet tray, and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and bubbling and the scallops are cooked through.

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11 thoughts on “Ina Garten’s Coquilles St. Jacques from "Make It Ahead"”

  • I love everything I have made from Ina. This recipe was absolutely delicious. I had some trout I cut to same size as my scallops. I had Swiss cheese and used that instead of gruyere.

  • I have watched your show for many years. I recently made the Coquille St. Jacque. And then I made it again and again and for friends and family. Trying it today with lobster as well as the scallops. Such a great recipe.
    Thank you.

  • Le Gourmet, Upland, CA…w/scallops AND shrimp…no mention of wine🤔…$31.95
    The French Gourmet, San Diego, CA…w/tomato concasse😦…$19.95
    Et Voila! French Bistro, San Diego…w/Sauce champignons…$28.
    Google it…i was surprised what I found in SOCAL!! I STILL prefer my French recipe!

    • Thanks for writing. Did you try Ina’s take? It is literally in the top ten most viewed recipes on all of Chewing The Fat. I love it. Most unfortunately, the bay scallops used here are in very short supply this year and horrendously expensive when you can find them. I have seen them at $55.00 a lb.! Tonight I am cooking the largest scallops I have ever seen. I am using them in a Chowder, one of my favorite things to make. Bon Appetit!

    • Dear Paula, Good Question! There’s no doubt the liquor does add a richness to this dish. I looked up Cognac substitutes, (one of which is brandy!) but in all honesty, I would sooner leave it out than use the non-alcoholic suggestions. I would add one of my own. Marsala might work here. Here’s the substitution list https://www.cuisinevault.com/cognac-substitutes/ Bon Appetit!

  • I want to make this in a casserole, can you tell me the time and temp to cook. I figure it would be about 35 minutes at 350 if I’m bringing out of the refrigerator.
    Thank you

    • Dear Margaret,Thank you for your email. I am sure you will be delighted with this dish. A general rule of thumb is to increase the cooking time by about 25% to 50% when switching from a ramekin to a casserole dish. In this case, since the cook time in the ramekin is 20 minutes, you could increase the cook time by around 5 to 10 minutes.

      However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the dish as it cooks and use visual cues such as browning or bubbling to determine when it’s done, as the exact increase in cooking time can vary depending on the specific recipe and the thickness of the dish. Bon Appetit!

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