Sous Vide Cooking Redux

About four years ago I had a post on here involving sous vide cooking. I felt its a good introductory post on the matter. A few years have flown by, and now seems like a good time to revisit things. In that timeframe, proper sous vide cooking at home has become easier and more practical. There are now a few options for the home cook wanting to explore sous vide.

Currently the most popular option is the Sous Vide Supreme. At $430, and roughly the size of a breadmaker, its a good option for most people wanting the next greatest thing in home appliances. If cost and space is a concern, they sell a smaller cheaper Sous Vide Supreme Demi, at only $330. I haven’t personally used this, but plenty of industry folk I trust like it.

I personally use a Sous Vide Professional Thermal Cooker from Polyscience. This is basically a science lab immersion circulator, cleaned up to fit among your current kitchen appliances. The price tag may be steep for most home cooks, but I feel its worth the expense. A traditional immersion circulator can be used to heat up large volumes of water to precise temps. That can be useful if you are cooking for large parties. For half the price Polyscience has recently introduced the CREATIVE Series Thermal Immersion Circulator. Its smaller and a little less powerful. Its only capable of heating about four gallons of water. That should be plenty for the average home cook.

Last, but certainly not least, we have a great option for the DIY, cost conscious crowd. There are plenty of guides showing how you can use your ordinary rice cooker as a makeshift sous vide device. Here’s a pretty good guide from Popular Science – Cooking Sous Vide the DIY Way.

In addition to sous vide hardware, you’ll need a way to vacuum seal your food. I prefer a Foodsaver. This is the model I own – FoodSaver V3835 Vacuum Food Sealer with SmartSeal Technology Any vacuum food sealer will work for most applications. With the hardware side of things out of the way, lets get to cooking.

Right now is a good time of year. The temps are trending down to more barable levels. We are still getting the tail end of the summer’s wonderful bounty. Giving summer one last hurrah, I offer a dish showcasing the best of what summer has left to offer. In this dish I also showcase what can be done with the sous vide way of cooking.

Olive Oil Poached Rock Cod With Charleston Ice cream, and Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

2 ears of sweet corn, husk and silk removed
3 tsp sugar
A healthy pinch of salt
3 TBL butter
2 sprigs of Tarragon
1 rib of celery, chopped
Half a sweet onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 Italian sweet peppers, with a small dice

Using the sous vide device of your choice, or simply a pot and good thermometer, heat your water to 180F. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the cob, reserving cobs for later use. In a vacuum bag add the corn, sugar, salt, 2 TBLS butter, and tarragon. Vacuum seal it all.Drop the bag bag into the water and cook for one hour.
While the corn is in the water bath, its time to make corn stock. Add the cobs, celery, onion, bay leaf and a healthy pinch of salt. Add just enough water to cover.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain and reserve. In a saute pan add the remaining butter. Heat to medium and add the diced peppers. Saute the peppers until cooked through. Remove a 1/4 cup of the peppers, reserving the rest for garnishing later. When the corn is cooked, open the bag and remove the tarragon sprigs. Add the corn, sweet peppers, and a 1/2 cup of the stock to a blender. Blend until smooth. Check the seasoning. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and reserve for later use.

Olive Oil Poached Rock Cod with Lemon and Tarragon

2 8oz Rock Cod filets, cut into two portions each, chilled – Any firm fleshed mild white fish will work here
1/2 a lemon sliced
4-5 sprigs tarragon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Turn down your sous vide device to 140F. You can use ice or cold water to speed things up. On a plate add a layer of kosher salt. Place you cod filets on top and cover with more salt. Let the filets sit in the salt for about 10 minutes. This both seasons and firms up the flesh.

Remove from the salt and rinse thoroughly. Pat the fish dry. Divide the fillets, lemon slices, tarragon, and olive oil between two vacuum bags. Vacuum and seal the bags.
Place the bags in the fridge until ready to use. Place the bags in the hot water. Cook for 10 minutes and remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove the fish from the bags and blott off extra oil.

Charleston Ice Cream

This strangely titled dish is nothing more than a bowl of rice. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the frozen dairy treat. This is simply another awesome way to cook rice. This method gives you rice that doesn’t clump up, and allows you to taste the individual grains of rice. This is one of the signature dishes at Husk restaurant in Charleston. The chef behind that restaraunt, Sean Brock, is one of my culinary man crushes. This is his way of cooking rice, which pays homage to South Carolina’s former rice culture. He uses Carolina Gold Rice for this dish, a heirloom variety brought back from the grave thanks to him and Glenn Roberts at Anson Mills. They both are doing great things to preserve diversity in our produce. If you can find the carolina rice, by all means use it. I will be using my favorite rice, Texmati, for this version.

6 cups water
1 cup Texmati rice, rinsed*
2 TSP salt
1 Bay leaf
2 TBL Butter, cubed

Heat oven to 300F. Bring the water, salt, and bay leaf to a boil. Add the rice, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the rice for 15 minutes. Strain the rice. the rice should now be al dente. Spread the rice out onto a baking sheet. Put the rice into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring the rice occasionally. By this point the rice should be dry. remove from the oven. Add the butter, dispersing evenly over the rice. Place the rice back into the oven for another 5 minutes, stirring it up about half way through. Remove the rice from the oven and serve.

To Plate

Olive Oil Poached Cod
Charleston Ice Cream rice
Corn Chowder
Sauteed sweet peppers
1/2 tsp fresh Tarragon, Minced

In the center of a shallow serving bowl add a healthy mound of the rice. Lay one piece of cod atop the rice. pour the corn chowder around the rice. garnish with the sweet peppers and tarragon.

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~ by thebrewgeek on Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

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