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Saturday, February 06, 2010

What is Sous Vide

posted by snekse
Sous vide (pronounced sue–veed) is French for "under vacuum". In culinary terms, sous vide is a cooking method in which food is vacuum sealed then immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise and consistent temperature.

Sounds simple, but there's much more to it than that. This is not meant to be a definitive guide to sous vide. Instead, this is meant to be a brief introduction along with some links to help you find more authoritative resources on the web, in print and elsewhere (including right here in Omaha!). This is also the first part of a series of articles we'll be doing on sous vide over the next week.

To start off, we interviewed Dario Schicke, of Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], and asked him to explain sous vide and the training he received. Then he gave us some demonstrations in preparing food for cooking sous vide, as well as texture modification and flavor injection using the vacuum chamber. We also left a SousVide Supreme™ with him for several days to get an experienced chef's opinion of the product. Our review and his thoughts on that will be posted later.

An explanation of sous vide cooking


A conversation with Dario Schicke, Chef/Owner of Dario's Brasserie in Omaha, NE, about sous vide cooking. We discuss what sous vide is, what it's uses are, the training he received and the viability of the method for the home cook.

Beef Tenderloin Cooked in the Sous Vide Supreme


Dario Schicke, Chef/Owner of Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], walks us through cooking beef tenderloin sous vide, while helping us test out the SousVide Supreme.

Compressed Watermelon


Dario Schicke, from Dario's Brasserie (Omaha, NE), demonstrates compressed watermelon in a vacuum chamber.

Flavor Injecting Under Pressure


Dario Schicke, from Dario's Brasserie [Omaha, NE], demonstrates texture modification and flavor injection by infusing apple juice and Calvados apple brandy into sliced Asian apple pears, using a high pressure vacuum chamber for some beautiful and flavorful results.

I'll leave you with two interesting quotes about sous vide, then some resources.

Thomas Keller, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, on the benefits of sous vide: "For one, it's a new toy and we all love new toys. And two, sous vide definitely goes beyond cooking in a bag. It's used for precise, à la minute cooking. When you order a steak medium, that's the temperature in the very center, but the outside is cooked well done and the next layer is medium-well, et cetera. But with sous vide, that piece of meat is medium from edge to edge. Before now, few people have had a short rib rare."

Eric Ziebold on the down sides of sous vide: "Sous vide takes craft away from cooking. You know it'll be a perfect medium-rare every time. You don't want to lose that emotional contact with food—like when you smell duck fat cooking, that does something for us.

Right now, we have turbot cooked sous vide and then brushed with preserved lemon. But we'll never have everything cooked sous vide. Just like we wouldn't have everything grilled..."

RELATED LINKS:
Sous-vide on Wikipedia
A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking by Douglas Baldwin
Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment on eGullet
Michael Voltaggio (from Top Chef) explaining sous vide and using a microwave to do it.

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