Coquilles St. Jacques & Pistachio Toffee

march 4, 2016 When we moved house last summer we purged, and purged — particularly in the kitchen where duplicates abounded, a byproduct of our newly blended family.

One of the items under serious scrutiny was the set of 12 large, pearly white and flawless scallop shells that my parents used for cooking and serving Coquilles St. Jacques — one of their dinner party staples when I was a kid. Even though I loved this French classic of baked scallops (eaten from a giant shell no less!), and even though I vividly remember my parents' friends swooning over it time and again, I've only made it once as an adult. The dish always seemed a little too, well, retro. What's more, Pura Vida's scallops are so exquisite, I tend to simply sear them in an extra-hot pan with a bit of olive oil and garlic...and let their big flavor do the talking.

Still, the beautiful shells made the cut.

I was so glad they did when someone forwarded this Ina Garten recipe for my parents' scallop standard last week. Though Ina's recipe — her own dinner party staple since she married in 1968(!) — is presented in little gratin dishes, not shells, it is essentially the same. It's perfect served with a large salad of Neversink Farm greens and a flinty white wine (or bubbles). And I can't wait to break out those shells.

If you're having a dinner party this weekend and think you'll be spending too much time on Coquilles St.Jacques to think about dessert, worry not: Kaffee & Klatsch is here (formerly known as Christiane's Backstube). Same fantastic strudel made with local apples, different name.Also in the treats department, La Petite Occasion has a new pistachio toffee that she will be strutting only through March, so snap some up while you can. And, Nutty Spread is here, too.

Also, of course, we'll have lots of gorgeous organic greenhouse greens, artisanal breads, cheese, chicken and farm-fresh eggs.

See you at the market!