Thursday, February 15, 2007
Sous Vide: not that hard
Sous vide: under vaccuum What it really means is that if you have a FoodSaver, you can cook sous vide. You don't need one of those fancy Japanese or French vaccuum boxes, and you don't need some fancy immersion cooker as long as you're willing to pay attention a little bit. I have a FoodSaver, and I finally realized that sous vide cookery is just a fancified version of boil-in bags! My approach? I bagged up some duck breasts with salt and herbes de provence. In fact, the duck ended up in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Then into the pot they go, bring the water up to a simmer at 140 degrees. Use a big pot with a lot of water, the mass of the water means the temp stays more stable. You can pretty much keep it there indefinitely, but it does require watching if you don't have something with a thermostatic control. I put a probe thermometer into the pot, with the alarm set to go off if the temp got a few degrees too high. What do you do with something you cook sous vide? Well, consider the texture. Proteins cooked that gently are very soft -- they don't have the "trauma" of heat that makes them get springy. So go for either a big contrast with something crunchy, or complimentary. I took the latter route, and served the duck breasts sliced over Shanghai noodles, with duck stock flavored along the lines of pho. Added some steamed baby bok choy on the side of the bowl along with some shiitake mushrooms, and it was a very nice meal. Up next? I will try my hand at foie gras preparations. I just read about chef Alan Wong's kalua pork and foie gras sandwiches, and so I need to make some brioche before Dave gets home from his trip tomorrow so we can try that out!