National Coquilles Saint Jaques Day is celebrated each year on May 16.  Coquilles Saint Jacques is a French phrase meaning Scallop.

The story behind how this dish was named is, according to sources,

a knight was saved from drowning by St. James. The knight emerged from the water, covered with shells ... and so the phrase "shells of St. James" also emerged.


More info from another source claims that

Saint James was the brother of John, and one of the 12 Apostles.

The scallop shell was the symbol of the crusaders of the Order of Saint James. (Santiago in Spanish and St. Jacques in French).

Supposedly his intervention saved the life of a drowning knight. The knight emerged from the sea covered with scallops shells.   

Scallops were named Coquilles St. Jacques in St. James honor, as was the dish.  Coquilles St. Jacques means 'shells of St. James'.

Photo by K9Owned
Photo by K9Owned


Ingredients / Nutrition



  1. Prepare bouillon:.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the bouillon with only 1/2 cup of wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add other 1/2 cup wine and scallops and simmer another 5 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid and scallops only.
  3. Prepare sauce:.
  4. Melt butter and saute onions and mushrooms until tender. Remove from heat and stir in flour and pepper, blend well. Put back on heat and gradually stir in cream, bring just to boiling stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thick 4-5 minutes. Add Gruyere and stir until melted. Remove from heat , stir in wine and 1/2 cup prepared bouillon and parsley. Add scallops and mix well. Divide into 6 scallop shell dishes.
  5. Prepare potatoes:.
  6. Peel potatoes and dice and cook. Mash potatoes with butter,milk,salt, pepper and yolk. Pipe potatoes around scallop shells on the edges only using pastry bag and star tip. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese all over.
  7. Place shells on baking sheet or cookie sheet. Broil 4 " from heat on low until golden brown and heated through. About 2-3 minutes. Depends how cool things became when assembling you can also put in 400F oven for a few minutes first then on broil.

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