Sea scallops are one of my favorite foods. When I first got my sous-vide appliance over two years ago, it was one of the first foods I tried. And I was underwhelmed. I didn’t do any side by side testing back then, but I was pretty sure that I couldn’t find anything special about the scallops that had been cooked sous-vide. After that I didn’t sous-vide scallops anymore. Since I was still relatively new to sous-vide back then, I decided to do a proper side by side experiment to find out once and for all whether those rave reviews I had seen elsewhere about the magnificent texture of sous-vide scallops were true after all.
When I did some experiments with different qualities of scallops, I noticed that the texture of freshly shucked scallops is much firmer than scallops that are sold already shucked. Since I don’t remember having tried freshly shucked scallops in my earlier experiments, I decided to include some fresh ones too. Here’s what I did.
I then tasted all of them. There was no significant visible difference and no difference in texture or taste between the scallops that were seared only and the ones that were cooked sous-vide first. It was as if they had not been precooked at all! Of course there was a difference between the smaller freshly shucked scallops and the larger already shucked ones, but that’s not what this test is about. There was such a lack of difference that I don’t think it worth to perform experiments at different sous-vide temperatures, but I’d be happy to hear about it if anyone has a different experience.
So my conclusion is that there is no use to cooking scallops sous-vide. Just sear them!