There are a number of ways in which scallops may be featured on the menu, but generally are served replaced in the bottom shell, surrounded with a border of Duchesse potato and coated with a sauce (see, for example, Scallops in Cheese Sauce). All those sauces associated with shallow poached fish dishes may be used, either glazed or unglazed. It is common practice to add other types of shellfish or flaky fish to the scallops.
The shells are also used as a form of presentation for a wide range of dishes made with flaked fish with or without scallops. The dish then appears on the menu as Coquilles followed by the words denoting the fish and sauce used, e.g. Scallop Shells of Cod in White Wine Sauce — Coquilles de Cabillaud Sauce Vin Blanc Glacé.
To open place the scallops on the side of the stove or on a heated hotplate – the shells will open of their own accord. Remove the scallop from the bottom shell and cut away the frill leaving the center red tongue attached. Wash under cold water.
The top shell is discarded, but the lower deep shell is kept for use in presenting the shellfish. It should be thoroughly washed and boiled before using.
There are different approaches to cooking scallops. Those methods in most common use are as follows.
(a) Lightly stew the scallops in butter with the addition of salt and a small bayleaf covered with a lid.
(b) Gently poach the scallops in a court-bouillon for approximately 5 minutes.
(c) Poach the scallops in milk flavoured with thyme, bayleaf, parsley stalks and shredded onion for approximately 5 minutes.
When cooked scallops become firm and rather rubbery.
Makes: 10 portions. Cooking time: 45 minutes.
— 1 kg Duchess potato mixture
— 75 grams butter
— ½ liters sauce mornay
— 10 cooked and sliced scallops
— 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese
(1) Pipe the edge of the shell with Duchesse potato, sprinkle with melted butter and dry lightly under a salamander grill without coloration.
(2) Pour a little of the mornay sauce in the bottom of the shell. Place in the cooked, sliced and drained scallops and coat with some of the mornay sauce.
(3) Sprinkle the surface of the sauce with grated Parmesan cheese and melted butter and lightly glaze under a salamander grill.
(4) Serve garnished with sprigs of parsley.
(1) Lightly butter the scallop shell where the Duchesse potato is to be piped. Place a small knob of potato under the shell to keep it level when placed onto a baking sheet for further handling.
(2) When a dish is to be glazed the potato and sauce should both be glazed to an even degree. The potato, therefore, once piped is sprinkled with melted butter and needs to be lightly dried under a salamander grill or in an oven before the fish is placed in and coated with the sauce.
(3) Always preheat the filling, either in butter or in the sauce, before placing it into the shells. Do not place the filling into the piped shells in a cold state hoping that the sauce coating will adequately heat it for serving.
Serve on a silver or stainless steel fiat dish on a dish paper, with sprigs of parsley placed on the dish paper.
Assessment of the completed dish:
(1) The shell should be perfectly clean with no traces of sauce or potato mixture down the sides. The dish paper should be perfectly clean with no grease.
(2) The Duchesse potato should be evenly colored a light golden brown. It should be neatly and evenly piped around the shell and have a smooth texture. Its flavour should be a pleasant combination of nutmeg and butter.
(3) The mornay sauce should be a light creamy color. It should also be creamy in consistency so that it evenly coats the filling, and have a cheese flavor that is not too pronounced. It should be evenly colored following gratination and no un-melted cheese should be left on the surface.
(4) The scallops should be moist and perfectly white in color.