Throughout our marriage, my husband’s dinner choice for special occasions has always been Coquilles St. Jacques á la Parisienne (scallops in a white wine sauce).
Being a vegetarian, once I discovered fake (or, ‘faux’, since we’re talking French here) meats, Skallops and its like were substituted. These worked well since real scallops taste kind of fake anyhow.
Don’t get me wrong, I love imitation products – at least, SOME of them (you have to experiment). They talk you off the ledge when you crave your mom’s chicken casserole or spaghetti with meat sauce. Also, they allow you to revive those recipes you thought were unusable in the vegetarian world. BUT…they are a processed food and, as such, I try and limit them to once or twice a week.
So, I decided to try extra firm tofu in place of the fake scallops. It actually works quite well. True, tofu doesn’t have the chew of imitation scallops, but it blends quite well with the mushrooms and white wine sauce, and makes a tasty alternative. I added in diced pimentos for a little extra flavor and color. (Quel horreur!)
The final change I made (which you don’t have to) is replacing the high fat, calorie laden puff pastry shells usually used to contain the St. Jacques, with mini-Yorkshire puddings. The recipe for my Mini-Yorkies will be in next week’s blogpost.
TOFU ST. JACQUES A LA BONNIE – makes about 3 cups
- 1 block extra-firm tofu
- 3/4 cup vermouth
- 2 cups mushrooms (5 oz), chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 3 T butter
- 4 T flour
- 3/4 cup milk (I use half cream, half nonfat milk – don’t judge!)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (1½ oz) Emmentaler Swiss cheese, grated
- 2 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
- 4 puff pastry shells or mini Yorkshire puddings
Remove tofu from package and extract liquid by sandwiching it between 2 plates for 30 minutes, at least. Pour off water periodically. Cut into 1/2″-3/4″ cubes.
Into a skillet place the tofu, vermouth, mushrooms, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and shallots. Top with about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame to simmer, cover skillet, and cook 5 minutes.
With slotted spoon, remove the tofu and mushrooms to a bowl. Boil down liquid to 1 cup. Remove bay leaf and discard.
In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks. Set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Turn off heat and carefully mix in flour to make a paste. It’s best to use a flat-headed wooden spoon for this to mash out all lumps. This is the only chance you have to get rid of lumps – once you add liquid, they’re there for good. When the roux (paste) is perfectly smooth, cook it over a low heat for 1 minute.
Turn heat to medium and pour milk and reduced vermouth liquid into the roux. Stir often until sauce begins to thicken. Turn off heat. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of this sauce into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so they don’t curdle. Turn the flame to medium again under the saucepan, and pour the yolk mixture back into the sauce, stirring constantly until thick – about 1 minute.
NOTE: You never introduce egg yolks directly into a hot liquid – they’ll cook. Rather, you temper the yolks by slowly introducing a small amount of hot liquid into them, and then pouring them into the sauce.
Add the lemon juice, cheese, and pimento to the sauce. Taste and season, if needed. (I never do.)
Blend the tofu mixture and sauce together in the skillet – off heat.
Bake the puff pastry shells or mini-Yorkshire puddings. Just before they’re done, heat up the tofu mixture. If using puff pastry shells, remove the center holes and doughy bits inside; if using the Yorkies, split open. Pour the heated TOFU ST. JACQUES A LA BONNIE on top and serve.