“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Type: Snacks „
I am a big fan of scallops but they are hard to find well cooked in ready prepared food, and equally difficult to cook myself if I'm honest! So it was with some trepidation that I ordered two packs of Marks & Spencer Mini Coquilles St Jacques for my Easter party, at a price of £6 per pack of twelve it would be a costly mistake if they weren't as good as I was hoping.
I needn't have worried though as once again Marks & Spencer have proved why they can charge the outrageous prices they do and here they have come up with an absolute gem of a dish.
My only complaint is that I was expecting them to be slightly bigger, I know they are sold as being 'mini' but they really are absolutely tiny. The photograph above actually shows them to scale against the lemon slice but really I think Marks & Spencer must have used rather large lemons as the Mini Coquilles St Jacques are much smaller than the picture would have you believe.
They are so sweet though! Tiny little scallop shells, now decorations on my rockery, have been filled with a single scallop in a delicious sauce and topped with the poshest breadcrumbs I've ever tasted - well, unless you count the meal I ate in one of Anthony Worrall Thompson's restaurants some years ago and that was much more costly (and not much bigger actually) than these!
The scallop is beautifully cooked, it's soft and supple yet retains a little bite and to be honest it's at least as good as any scallop dish I've eaten in even the most classy restaurant. The scallop itself is rather small and is slightly overwhelmed by the white wine sauce in my opinion, although I'm not sure why this is as the ratio of scallop to sauce seems just right to me.
The sauce is nice and creamy, personally I would have preferred a peppery sauce rather than this white wine one but I suppose this is just personal taste. In any case the sauce was nice enough but just didn't seem special enough when compared with the rest of the components of this dish.
The very best thing about these Mini Coquilles St Jacques is the breadcrumbs, they are fantastic. There is the perfect mix of crunchy and soft breadcrumbs which have been mixed with herbs to create a wonderful melt in your mouth texture that really knocked my socks off. It's hard to describe the taste of these breadcrumbs but let me just tell you they really top each little shell off beautifully and work well with the other flavours including the rather strong white wine sauce and the more delicate scallop.
I am very glad I bought these despite the reservations I have about the size of them and the sauce Marks & Spencer have chosen to adorn the scallop, for what they are they are rather expensive but you're paying for not only the delicious scallop but the fun factor of having them served in the small shells.