How shell we celebrate? May 16 is National Coquilles St. Jacques Day!
For those who need to brush off the ol' French translation books, today we're celebrating scallops.
Coquilles St. Jacques, or scallops St. James, is a classic French preparation of the soft, mildly sweet mollusks. It's named for - you guessed it - St. James, who is reputedly buried in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
Pilgrims visiting the cathedral would often carry scallop shells with them in the apostle's honor. It's said that the grooves on the shell represent the different paths pilgrims take, ultimately all winding up at the same destination - the cathedral. The scallop shells also served a more practical purpose, as water and food bowls.
As for the actual dish, the scallops are poached in white wine, then placed back in a clean scallop shell over sautéed mushrooms. The dish is then topped with the reduced poaching liquid, cream, cheese and breadcrumbs and broiled until just crisp and brown.