Chefs and gourmands love the cooking process; sous vide (say soo veed). It’s a process of cooking food to a certain temperature by placing it in a plastic bag and dipping it into a controlled, heated water bath.
Those who have tried sous vide describe the flavors as divine, and the food cooks to a consistent temperature. A medium rare steak is medium rare from the top to the bottom, not just the center of the cut. In fact, the Maillard Reaction (the act of browning meat with high heat) doesn’t happen, so most meat is seared off after cooking to give it the characteristic char.
Sous vide is best for meat, chicken and fish. But aficionados cook anything as long as it fits in the cooking container. Sous vide equipment requires a sealing system with food grade plastic, a temperature control device to heat the water slowly to a set temperature and a container for the whole operation. Prices run the gamut from about $199 to over $1,000 for a professional chef set up.
One of the biggest advantages of the sous vide method is it’s hard to mess up the food. Unlike a pan or oven cook, you set the temperature and forget it. You don’t need a watchful eye to make sure you don’t overcook or undercook. A few minutes either way is just fine with the food, it won’t affect the dish. Also, food holds it’s moisture, so that piece of steak will be nearly the same size raw as it is fully cooked. The food will be juicy and tender.
There are some downsides to sous vide cooking. You will need time to prepare the food. A 1 1/2″ to 2″ steak will take between one to three hours, depending on how done you’d like the steak. Besides the pricey equipment, you’ll also need to find storage space in your kitchen for the equipment. A tiny urban kitchen likely won’t have enough room.
For foodies, sous vide is worth a try. Check out a local restaurant that has the equipment and then decide if you’d like to bring the technique into your own kitchen. You will love the flavor if you can handle the costs and storage needs.
Have you tried sous vide? Did you like the flavors? What kind of equipment did you buy?
Editor’s Note: Images provided by Sous Vide Supreme but I have not tested their equipment. They were friendly and easy to work with though.
- Foodie dives: why they’re so great
- Lemon risotto recipe
- Party like a Vanderbilt, how to throw a great dinner party