Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16: National Coquilles St. Jacques Day

When I saw this on my calendar, a "Huh?" escaped my lips.  First off, my French is very limited and I'm fairly certain I pronounce what little I've picked up very wrong.  Secondly, I had no idea what type of food or dish a "Coquilles St. Jacques" is.  One thing I did feel pretty good about, though, was that it was probably a dish named after St. Jacques, whoever he was.

Well, a little internet sluething later, I discovered that St. Jacques = St. James.  (Somehow, it never entered my mind that the names of the saints might be different depending on the language.  I think it was just too early in the morning for me when I looked at the calendar.)  St. James was one of the 12 apostles and is considered the patron saint of laborers.  (His day is July 25th, so I'm a little confused why a food dish named after him would be over two months earlier, but, hey, I don't set these dates, I just blog about them.)

So what is Coquilles St. Jacques?  eHow has a pretty good video explaining the dish, as does What's Cooking.  Coquille St. Jacques is basically scallops and mushrooms cooked in some sort of butter-based sauce.  Some recipes will use wine, others add cheese. Why scallops?  Apparently, the scallop shell was the symbol of the Order of St. James, chosen because St. James save a knight from drowning and when the knight emerged, he was covered in scallop shells.

As always, with all seafood, please check with Seafood Watch as to its sustainability.  Seafood Watch approves of pretty much all types of scallops out on the market (none are red flagged, just oranges and greens) so go celebrate today with a helping of Coquilles St. Jacques at your local seafood restaurant or try making your own.

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