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Sous Vide Scallops: The Creamiest Scallops Ever

May 9, 2011 | 0 comments

I’ve been a little remiss in cooking sous vide lately, but certainly not for lack of desire! After a meal of great grilled porterhouse steaks the other night (see my post on Porterhouse Steaks with Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce), something from the sea seemed like a good idea. I’ve been reading that the sous vide scallops are the creamiest scallops ever, and have an almost custard-like consistency in the middle, while having the typical beautiful sear on the outside. I did a little Googling and found that most experts recommend cooking the scallops for about 35-45 minutes at 122 degrees Fahrenheit, then chilling (either in the fridge or in an ice bath) to “set” the scallops much like you do a custard. A second cooking via a quick sear in a very hot pan finishes the scallops and they’re ready to eat – supposedly with a creamy, custardy texture that can’t be achieved with simple pan cooking. Sounds awesome, right? It is!

I bought 10 good sized sea scallops, and seasoned them with salt & pepper, and sealed them in a sous vide pouch with a bit of butter. As I’d read, I cooked them for 40 minutes in 122 degree Fahrenheit, and then immediately placed them in an ice bath for quick chilling.  After about 7-8 minutes, I removed the scallops from the pouch, and patted them dry on paper towels, then put them gently in a very hot pan with about 2 Tbsp of butter.  I cooked them just until nicely browned on both sides, about 2 minutes, and removed them to a plate, where I drizzled them with a delicious orange buerre blanc.  Ok, let me just pause here to say WOW were these great! I really did like the texture – creamier than usual, still firm, and cooked to perfection. No way to overcook them with this method, which is a huge plus considering how tough scallops are when overdone.

I made the buerre blanc while the scallops were in the ice bath so that everything was ready at the same time (I also cooked up some fresh Thumbelina carrots and some rice pilaf as side dishes). Here’s how the make the sauce:

Orange Buerre Blanc sauce:

1 large shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice, divided
7 Tbsp butter, very cold, cut into 1 Tbsp pieces
2 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
salt & pepper

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and add shallots. Saute until translucent but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, the orange zest and 2 Tbsp of the orange juice and cook until liquid is reduced to just a few tablespoons.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the butter, stirring constantly, 1 Tbsp at a time, adding the next piece only when the previous one has been fully absorbed. Add the final tablespoon of orange juice, the tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the scallops when they are done, and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

This makes not only for a delicious meal, but it’s very pretty so would be great for entertaining and impressing guests.

Bon appetit!



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