Happy St. David’s Day! Celebrated all over the world on 1st March, St. David’s Day is dedicated to the patron Saint of Wales, St. David and is an important date in Welsh heritage.
To celebrate St. David’s Day today, I’ve teamed up with Food and Drink Wales to create my own Welsh inspired recipe, using Welsh ingredients to raise awareness of the fantastic food and drink produce available within Wales. At the very end of this blog post, you also have the chance to WIN a Welsh food and drink hamper worth £50! This forms part of the Welsh Government’s #ThisisWales #GwladGwlad #FoodDrinkWales campaign, which aims to showcase Wales and its quality produce on the patron’s saint day.
Inspired by Visit Wales’ vision of 2018 as the ‘Year of the Sea’ for Wales, and my recent experience of judging in the North East Wales Year of the Sea Food Challenge, I decided to develop a Welsh fish or seafood dish of my very own. I recently made the French scallops dish, coquilles St. Jacques for the first time and it went so well, it got me wondering whether I could put a Welsh twist on it for St. David’s Day. After pondering over which Welsh ingredients to use, the idea for coquilles St. David was born.
Aiming for a Welsh rarebit take on this classic French scallops recipe, I replaced the traditional white wine with Penlon Cottage Brewery’s Twin Ram India Pale Ale, which was kindly recommended to me for this dish by Wally’s Delicatessen in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade. I wanted to use a mellow pale ale that wouldn’t overpower the delicate taste of the scallops, and this worked a treat. I used fresh scallops bought the same day from E. Ashton Fishmonger’s in Cardiff Market.
While coquilles St. Jacques sees scallops topped with mushrooms, I used sliced Welsh leeks to concoct my coquilles St. David dish.
To further reinforce the Welsh rarebit theme, I topped the filled scallop shells with grated organic Welsh Hafod cheese from The Cheese Pantry in Cardiff Market, lightly coated in mustard powder. This mild, creamy cheese was ideal for this dish. It’s important not to overdo it with the mustard powder, as again, you don’t want the flavour to be too intense.
The finished result was just as delicious as coquilles St. Jacques – in fact, I think my version was even tastier, although I may be slightly biased 😉
Coquilles St. David
In a Welsh twist on this traditional French classic, Coquilles St. David uses Penlon Cottage Brewery Twin Ram India Pale Ale, organic Welsh Hafod cheese and fresh Welsh leeks, with a sprinkling of mustard powder. Like an upmarket take on Welsh rarebit, it's the perfect St. David's Day dish!
- 4 scallops with shells
- 1 large leek sliced
- 80 g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 125 ml Penlon Cottage Brewery Twin Ram India Pale Ale
- 200 ml double cream
- 1 onion diced
- 100 g organic Hafod cheese grated
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 25 g breadcrumbs
- pinch salt and pepper
Pour 300ml water into a medium-sized saucepan and bring it to a simmer, then add the onion, salt and pepper to form a broth. When the water reaches boiling point, add the pale ale.
Gently place the scallops into the broth and poach for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the scallops from the broth, set aside and reduce the heat of the broth slightly.
Melt 30g butter in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat, and sautée the leeks until soft.
Add the scallops to the frying pan and toast for a minute or two each side, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt 50g butter in a small saucepan and add the flour, mixing it to form a roux. Strain the broth through a sieve and pour it into pan, whisking it until silky smooth.
Beat the egg yolk with the double cream, remove the sauce from the heat and add it to the sauce.
Place each scallop back into its shell, top it with sliced leeks, and pour the sauce into the shell, right up to the brim.
Put the grated cheese into a bowl and sprinkle the mustard powder over it, tossing it with your hands to ensure it coats the cheese. Sieve the mixture to remove any excess mustard powder.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the filled scallop shells, and sprinkle with golden breadcrumbs.
Bake for 10 minutes in the oven on gas mark 7-8/180°C.
- Use a stopwatch to get the timings right when cooking the scallops
- Ask the fishmonger to clean the scallop shells out for you when you buy them
- Use measuring spoons to get the ingredients precise, especially when it comes to the mustard powder - if you add too much, it’ll overpower the delicate taste of the scallops.
St. David’s Day giveaway
Fancy getting your hands on some of the best Welsh food and drink produce on offer? One lucky reader will win a Welsh food and drink hamper worth £50 from Food and Drink Wales. To enter, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.
So, what can you expect to find inside the hamper? The full contents include:
- 2 x Penderyn miniatures – Whisky and Gin
- Radnor Brecon Smoky Campfire Marmalade
- Radnor Brecon Pin Gin Marmalade
- Nom Nom Halen Mon Sea Salt Chocolate Bar
- Nom Nom Earl Grey Chocolate Bar
- 2 x Tregroes Toffee Waffles
- 2 x Tan Y Castell Welsh Cakes
- 2 x Welsh Brew Tea Bag Sample Packs
- Welsh apron
- Wicker hamper