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Sous Vide Scallops

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
20 Hokkaido Large Scallops Defrosted in water
To taste Salt
1 tsp Mirin
1 tsp Japanese Cooking Wine
1 tsp Olive Oil
Pan Seared Scallops
1 tsp Fig Mustard Refer to post for alternatives
10pcs Goji Berries
Breaded Scallops
2tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Egg
4 large pcs Vietnamese Rice Wrapper or bread crumbs
1/4tsp Salt
1tsp Mayonnaise
2tsp Wasabi
10pcs Fish Roe
10pcs Shisho Leaf Refer to post for alternatives

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Sous Vide Scallops

A juicy and delicious appetiser that will wow in both looks and taste!

  • 50m
  • Serves 10
  • Easy

Ingredients

  • Pan Seared Scallops

  • Breaded Scallops

Directions

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After trying to sous vide with thermal pot and a cooler box, and being so happy with the juicy meats we get, we decided to just go ahead and buy an Anova Sous Vide Cooker to make the cooking process easier. We tried to save the money. But we love the sous vide effect so much that we just have to get one. Yes, it is possible to sous vide without buying a special sous vide machine. Just that it is not so stable (constant supervision) and only recommended for short cooking times below an hour. We had to keep add water 2-3 times during a 1 hour cooking period.

We watched one of our favourite youtube cooking channels, French Guy Cooking and I have embedded his video for your easy reference on how to do this without buying a sous vide cooker.But honestly, if you like the results a lot and you think you will be doing this often, then I highly recommend getting one if you can afford the spare cash. Of course, if you don’t have such a powerful  blow torch like his, then just pan sear at high temperature. We do that mostly as our  blow torch is only good enough for browning desserts.

We tried sous vide in both thermal pots and cooler box and I think there is no major difference. The thermal pot tends to be slightly finicky as temperature can drop faster. But they both work well. Only thing is that your temperature may need to go higher at the beginning as it will drop quite fast. So say if the recipe calls for 60C, I will go 65C. And I don’t recommend it for any thing that takes more than 45min to cook in a regular Anova. Because I also had to cook it slightly longer in the thermal pot because of the temperature, extending it to 1 hour. I checked on the temperature maybe every 15minutes or so.

There is also the method of maintaining the heat over a low flame in a cast iron or vision type of pot. I have not tried this because I just imagine it to be quite a pain. But I used something like this method for poaching whole fish and whole chicken and of course this is how we cook our traditional soft boiled eggs. But for these, I had the fire off after it boiled and cook for a fixed period. So the recipe already took into consideration the dropping temperature.

THE SOUS VIDE

We are currently using the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker WIFI model, which we have the full review. This review will hopefully be useful if you are still deciding if you should get one and also to help you understand it better.  Of the many foods we sous vide, which the posts are long overdue, I would like to share this scallops one first. Scallops are not cheap. And it is so annoying to buy good scallops and end up having them rubbery or dry or just not so juicy and tender. We have tried various methods of cooking and at best, it is quite juicy and tender but not restaurant standard. Until we tried the sous vide.

And to sous vide scallops is really soooo easy. This should probably be one of the first few dishes you try to sous vide. And the short cooking time makes this something easy to try without the machine too. You only need to sous vide it for 30min at 50 degrees C. This temperature is also easy to maintain in both a thermal pot and a cooler box.

So we have a sous vide machine, but we have no vacuum seal. Many friends have asked how to vacuum the bag without a vacuum seal. It is really easy and honestly, not worth spending money to get a vacuum seal unless you use them for storage purposes as well. All you need is good quality ziploc bags and a pot of water. Maybe a straw to suck out air. But I don’t like to use one since I rather not risk taking in any raw food by mistake. =P

The purpose of vacuum is to make sure:

1) the bags do not float up

2) the heat of the water is in as direct contact with the meats as possible. We all know air insulates so that is not good for cooking the meats.

Some foods like duck breast is so blockish that the moment I put it in the ziploc bag, and press out the air, then fold the bag before sealing, it pretty much eliminates most air out of the bag and is good enough to meet the above 2 requirements.

sous vide duck
I know it is not super vacuum tight, but trust me, this is good enough.

Other foods, like scallops and pork chops will have pockets of air in odd corners. So I usually do the water displacement method. This is using the weight and pressure of water to push out any excess air from the bags. When you submerge the bags into water, the pressure from the weight of the water will push air out through the opening. All you have to do is probably help it along a little by pressing a little for odd corners and make sure no water gets into the bag while you slowly submerge the bag into the water before finally sealing it totally.

Water Displacement Steps:

  1. place items in ziploc bag.
  2. Seal slightly (mainly to align the seal so it is easier later)
  3. Submerge bag partially into water and using fingers, ensure there are no pockets of air trapped in parts of bag that is submerged.
  4. Submerge bag till the seal is 1cm above water.
  5. Seal totally.
  6. Lift bag out of water and check again for any pockets. If not happy with result, adjust and re-do.
  7. Once happy with result, drop bag into the sous vide pot and cover.

We had invited my family over to try the foods cooked via sous vide. So I decided to push my limits by not only cooking a variety of meats and cuts for 10 pax (we had lamb racks, steaks, duck breast, duck confit, pork chops and fish…All I can say is, this is not a very good idea. Quality suffered. -_- ), we also decided to cook the scallop 2 ways. Luckily scallops were served first, so quality was still ok.

Now this sounds like it is so complicated, but it is actually pretty easy. If you know how to pan sear and you know how to pan sear, you can prepare this dish. I sous vide the scallops the day before so I have one less thing to do in the morning. The scallops are bought from NTUC frozen section and I bought the large Hokkaido Scallops.

SOUS VIDE SCALLOPS:

To defrost, just throw your scallops into a bowl of water. To expedite the process, you may need to change the water once or twice. Once defrosted, pat dry, season with a little sprinkle of salt and place inside a ziploc bag. You can place as many as you want as long as they are in a single layer. Then drizzle a little olive oil, mirin and Japanese cooking wine. Seal and vacuum the bag and throw into a pot of water at 50 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

PAN SEAR

So half the scallops were pan seared while the other half was breaded and pan fried. Once it is sous vide, you can serve it immediately, cook it further or store it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (unopened) as it is sanitized and vacuumed. So it is essentially free of bacteria that will cause the food to spoil. To serve, simply remove from bags and pat dry. Then pan sear it on high heat to brown the top and bottom slightly. I could serve it as is, but since I cooked this yesterday, I decided to pan sear it so as to warm the scallops as well as give it some colour and a touch of texture. Pan not hot enough, you may end up with barely there colour like ours. For scallops, it is probably ok to use a lighter gun if yo

The juice in the bag can be used to create a sauce for the scallops. Or stored for cooking other dishes in future. I usually don’t keep it or we will have too many bags lying around as we sous vide a varity of foods. In this case, I kept the juice for soaking the goji berries that goes on top of the scallops.

The pan fried scallops was dressed only with a dot of fig mustard dressing bought from my recent trip to Germany for a sweet and slightly spicy touch and decorated with a goji berry that was soaked in the scallop cooking juices. A good replacement for the fig mustard will be honey mustard or even teriyaki sauce.

BREADED SCALLOPS

The breaded scallops were breaded in crushed Vietnamese rice paper (or you can use bread crumbs or panko) like my breaded pork cheese rolls and served with wasabi mayonnaise, fish roe and shisho leaf. So when you bite in, you get the crunch of the breading, a burst of juice from the juicy scallops and fish roe, the sweetness of the scallops and the light saltiness of the fish roe with creamy tangy wasabi mayonnaise and the refreshing fragrance of the shisho leaf. A cheaper alternative to the shisho leaf will be sweet or Thai basil.

For the breaded scallops, remove from bags, pat dry and do the usual flour, egg, crumbs routine. You can read about coating tips on my Breaded Pork Cheese Rolls Recipe. Instead of deep frying though, we decided to pan fry as scallops are pretty flat. So that is the only difference method wise. Furthermore, I did not need to cook the scallops, just brown the coating. But in our case, our browning was a bit on the light side for some of them, thus demonstrating the importance of high heat to give it a nice golden brown.

After frying, place the scallops on a paper kitchen towel to absorb any excess oils.

breaded scallops recipe

PLATING

To place, I used a pair of chopsticks. We Orientals have an advantage here as our chopsticks skills should help us with this type of precise plating. Truth be told, I was always in awe looking at Masterchefs plating with their tweezers and it is the first time I am plating with chopsticks and I must say it is easier than I thought. I had a chopstick to apply each of the sauce and a clean pair to move dry stuff around. So 3 pairs in all.

Both scallops tasted pretty good, but I think the breaded scallop was better received as the texture was just more interesting, although not everyone enjoyed the shisho leaf.  Hope you had fun preparing this dish and do let us know your comments and feedback.

BTW, if you want to have our feedback on the Anova Sous Vide Cooker, then please click here.

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Steps

1
Done

Set up Sous Vide

Set up according to instructions of sous vide machine.
Set temperature to 50 degrees C and timer to 30 minutes.

2
Done
30m

Sous Vide Scallops

After defrosting scallops in water, pat dry and sprinkle some salt to season.
Place 10 scallops into sandwich sized ziploc bag.
Pour in olive oil, mirin and Japanese cooking wine to marinate.
Arrange scallops in bag such that they are in a single layer so that every scallop can be cooked evenly.
Vacuum bag as per instructions in post.
Place bag into sous vide pot once water temperature is achieved.

3
Done

Prepare breading

While the scallops are cooking, prepare the other ingredients.
First prepare 3 plates, one with flour, one with beaten egg and last one with bread crumbs or rice wrapper crumbs.
Add salt to the crumbs and mix well.

4
Done

Prepare Wasabi Mayonnaise

Mix wasabi and mayonnaise together well. Adjust taste according to preference.

5
Done

Pan sear Scallops

Once the scallops are cooked, remove them from bag and pat dry.
Pour the liquids in the bag into a small bowl and add goji berries in to soak.
Heat a pan with some oil over high heat.
Once pan is hot, add scallops and sear each side for 30 seconds or till slightly browned.
Remove from pan.

6
Done
3m

Plate

Place shisho leaf under on plate and place breaded scallop on.
Dot on wasabi mayo with a pointed chopstick.
Place fish roe on top on wasabi mayo with chopstick.
Place pan seared scallop next to shisho leaf and dot fig mustard with another clean chopstick.
Place goji berry on top.
Repeat for all.

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