Saint James the Greater, a feast is in order! Those of you who read the blog may not know that I am also a trained chef, so feast days such as this allow me to combine my love of the Lord and the Catholic faith tradition with my love of cooking!
In Compostela, a week long festival in honor of the great saint is held every year, with dramatic liturgy, beautiful local costumes, Galician bagpipe music, dancing, and of course wonderful food!
One of the traditional dishes is Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale. Nothing could be more appropriate, for the scallop shell has been, for hundreds of years, the symbol of Santiago—as described here, is worn as an emblem by all pilgrims to the shrine.
Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale
(Scallops on the "pilgrim" shell)
1 teaspoon each: Finely chopped chervil, chives, parsley, tarragon
1 small bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme
2 cups dry white wine
2 TBSP butter
1/3 cup yellow onions, minced
1 1/2 TBSP minced leeks
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds washed sea scallops, sliced thin
3/4 cup sifted flour, seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
6 buttered scallop shells
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated good-quality Gruyère cheese
2 TBSP butter in 6 pieces
1) Steep herbs (chervil, chives, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and thyme) gently in white wine for at least half an hour. Wine should reduce by half (leaving approximately 1 cup). Remove bay leaf.
2) Gently sauté onions and leeks in butter in sauce pan for about five minutes, or until they are tender and translucent but not brown. Stir in garlic and sauté slowly 1 minute more. Add wine mixture, bringing to gentle simmer.
3) Wash and pat dry scallops, slicing each horizontally into 4 even slices. Dredge in seasoned flour.
4) Heat sauté pan until very hot. Add olive oil. Sauté scallops quickly until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add wine mixture, covering and letting cook for approximately 5 minutes.
5) Remove scallops and let remaining liquid reduce until thickened.
6) Grind fresh bread with gruyere cheese. Sauté cheese and bread crumbs in butter. Spoon scallops and sauce into buttered shells. Sprinkle with bread mixture.
7) Just before serving, run under moderately hot broiler 3 to 4 minutes to heat through and melt cheese.
Serve with rice and a green vegetable, and a good white wine. Enjoy!
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."