Scallops à la Bordelaise

Coquilles St Jacques à la Bordelaise is a speciality of South-Western France, a classic simple sauté, involving butter, sliced shallots and chopped parsley. The dish is not particularly fashionable these days, when scallops tend to be briefly seared rather than fried, but it is delicious – as long as care is taken not to overcook the scallops to turn them into expensive rubber.

The simple addition of a couple of chopped garlic cloves turns this dish into coquilles St Jacques à la provençale.


  • 12 large scallops
  • flour, for dusting
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 150 g/ 5 oz butter
  • good handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 or 2 baguettes, to serve


Cut the scallops horizontally through the middle and separate any corals. Fashion foolishly dictates that the corals are not served in the same dish, but this is nonsense. Toss the scallop slices in well seasoned flour.

Fry the shallots gently in 30 g/ 1 oz of the butter and reserve.

Heat a large heavy frying pan until very hot. Throw in 60 g/ 2 oz butter, immediately add the scallops and sauté for 2 minutes, allowing them to take a good colour. Stir in the shallots and parsley, lower the heat and continue cooking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and swirl in the remaining butter.

Serve at once with some baguette to mop up the juices.