Coquille St Jacques


coquille st jacques 2

King Scallop is the focal point of the classic French recipe Coquille St Jacques. It and I have a long history that began 40 years ago in a tiny bistro near Radcliff, Kentucky. This dish was featured at my French dinner party and is a star of my annual Scallopalooza celebration.

King Scallop

Unlike clams and oysters, the scallop is a free-swimming bivalve capable of migration and can dart to escape predators like starfish. Yes, they swim and achieve that by rapidly opening and closing their shells with adductor muscles. The muscles grow large from the exercise and that’s what we eat when we enjoy a scallop.

St. James, St. Jacques and Scallops Provencale

When St. James the Apostle, a.k.a. St. Jacques embarked upon a religious pilgrimage, he took along a scallop shell to use for drinking and eating. The shell became the symbol of St. James. The French people of Provence used that name and their traditional cooking method with wine sauce for the namesake dish.

Coquille St Jacques a la Provencale – Step By Step

This is a very easy recipe to master that any seafood lover will cherish. The presentation is absolutely gorgeous in these lion’s paw shells, but they are equally delicious in a small ramekin or creme brulee dish.

buttered shells

Butter your shells


sauteed onion etc

Quickly saute the onions

sauteed onion, shallots, garlic

Add the shallots and garlic and saute another minute

floured scallops

Cook your sliced, seasoned, floured scallops for a minute per side

finished sauteed scallops

Add the wine, onion mixture, bay leaf and thyme, and simmer covered for 4-5 minutes


After broiling to heat through and brown the cheese! Print

Coquille St Jacques

King scallop the French way!

  • Author: Tim
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 18 scallops – 3 per app
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion – minced
  • 11/2 TBL shallot – minced
  • 5 TBL unsalted butter – divided
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 cup flour – sifted
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup gruyere cheese – grated
  • Salt and white pepper – to taste
  • 6 scallop shells or ramekins – buttered


  1. Preheat broiler to 400
  2. Saute onions slowly on low heat in 1 TBL butter in a small saucepan until soft and translucent
  3. Stir in the shallots and garlic, cook 1 minute more, remove from heat and set aside
  4. Pat the scallops dry and cut them into 1/4″ slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge in the flour, shake off the excess and set aside
  5. Heat 2 TBL of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat and saute the scallops for 1 minute per side to lightly brown them
  6. Pour in the wine, add the bay leaf, thyme and the cooked onion mixture. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  7. Uncover and if necessary simmer the sauce until it is slightly thickened. Correct seasoning if necessary and discard the bay leaf.
  8. Divide and spoon the scallops and sauce into the shells or ramekins and sprinkle the cheese over them
  9. Place a tsp of the remaining butter on each portion and finish under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until everything is heated through and the cheese is lightly browned