Pleasureful on the half-shell: Coquilles St. Jacques

Coquilles St. Jacques.
Pleasureful on the half-shell.
The word coquille means shell in French.
However classic ramekins may also be substituted. The shell is a symbol of reverence by pilgrims visiting the Spanish shrine of St. James ( St. Jacques ). Hence the evolution of the moniker. The presence of Coquilles St. Jacques is also usually considered gourmet elegance.  An epicurean classic.
Simple, yet sophisticated:  scallops enveloped in cream and butter.
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Coquilles St. Jacques with Beurre Blanc
1 1/2 pounds medium sea scallops (24 to 28)
tough muscle removed from sides
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon cold water
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter–
cut into tablespoon pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
Marinate scallops in vermouth 15 minutes.
Make the beurre blanc:
Simmer shallot in vinegar and wine in a small heavy saucepan until liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat and add water. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking in 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each new piece before previous one has melted completely and occasionally lifting pan from heat to cool mixture. (Sauce must not get hot enough to liquefy–it should be the consistency of a thin hollandaise.) Remove from heat and whisk in tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.
Keep warm off heat, covered.
Cook the scallops:
Drain scallops and pat dry between paper towels.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of remaining butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. While butter is heating, season half of scallops with salt and pepper. Sauté scallops, turning once, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Wipe out skillet and sauté remaining scallops in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in same manner. Serve scallops with beurre blanc.
On the half-shell?  Sometimes not…
Coquilles St. Jacques with Curry
1 pound sea scallops
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup half-and-half
4 teaspoons butter, divided
3 cups finely chopped leek (about 3 leeks)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 /4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
10 thyme sprigs
5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the leek, salt, and pepper–cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside; keep warm. Combine the wine, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add scallops to wine mixture. Remove from heat, and let stand for
5 minutes. Remove scallops with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Strain wine mixture through a sieve into a bowl, reserving 1 cup. Discard the remaining wine mixture. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour with a whisk; cook 2 minutes. Gradually add reserved wine mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes. Add half-and-half and curry, stirring with a whisk– cook 2 minutes or until thick. Add scallops to curry mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Divide the leek mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top with the scallop mixture.
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