I’m relatively new to the sous vide world, but it’s something that has always intrigued me. Sous-vide cooking involves placing food items in a sealed plastic bag and immersing the bag in a water bath for an extended time, set at a specific temperature, to evenly cook the food. This method was first popularized in the 1960s, as a method of cooking foie gras (fattened goose liver) to the desired temperature without losing any liquid in the process. It’s become very popular over the past 10 years; in fact, the barbacoa, steak, and carnitas served at Chipotle are all prepared using the sous vide method in a central location before being shipped to their restaurants.
It sounds daunting to dive into a new cooking method, especially one that has precise temperature and time requirements, but more tools are coming to market to make sous vide a breeze. Case in point is the Oliso Induction Smart Hub, which the company recently sent me to try. This device comes in two parts: an induction cooktop, which heats food efficiently (and super quickly) using magnetic induction, and the sous vide Smart Top, which sets atop the induction cooktop. I like this concept since the induction cooktop can be used in a variety of ways, independent of the sous vide oven; I use it to rapidly boil water without heating up the whole house, or to fry up a couple eggs in just a few seconds.
There’s a whole world to sous vide, with all sorts of charts and graphs (or as one of my favorite bands–Grandaddy–would say, “Chartsengrafs“), but I wanted to present a simple recipe to help folks dip their toes into this new adventure. Salmon is an ideal choice, since it’s very easy to tell when fish has been improperly cooked, and this method guarantees perfect texture every time.
Here’s a shot of the induction smart hub coupled with the sous vide precision cooker. The sous vide oven holds a generous 11 quarts of water, perfect for small and large cooking projects. So far, I’ve mostly used it to prepare steaks (recipe coming soon!), but I plan on experimenting with yogurt, bone broth, poached eggs, and infusing my own oil and alcohol. And this new recipe for Sous Vide Barbecue Brisket from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is currently on my shortlist of items to try this weekend!
At $500, I wouldn’t label this combo as a necessary appliance, but I think it is an excellent choice in the face of today’s sous vide options, or when comparing it to the myriad of other appliances it can replace. The fact that it has an independent induction cooktop is a particularly cool move, and the cooktop has been a staple on my kitchen counter for the past few months. This combo would work particularly well in situations where you don’t have access to a traditional stovetop; I imagine taking it on the road to produce the most delicious food in the campground.
Bear in mind that induction cooking only works on cookware that is induction-friendly, like cast iron and stainless steel.
Oliso also sent me their dead-simple vacuum sealer, and I loved it – the bags can be used 10x each before discarding, which can help save money in the long run. If you don’t own a vacuum sealer, you can use the water displacement method to remove the air from bags; Food & Wine has an excellent short video here.
Be sure to use food-grade, BPA-free bags made from polypropylene or polyethylene (like vacuum seal or Ziploc bags). If you buy frozen fish that’s already individually sealed in plastic bags, I would transfer them to a food-grade bag prior to cooking.
Sous Vide Salmon (Gluten-free, Perfect Health Diet, Paleo, Primal, Whole30)
1. Fill the sous vide oven with water, then set the temperature to 118F. Individually bag the salmon filets, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to each bag. Seal the bag using either a vacuum sealer or the water displacement method.
2. Once the water has reached 118F, place the filets in the water bath, making sure that the fish is fully submerged. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the bags from the water. Remove the filets from each bag, retaining the leftover oil and juices.
3. Heat a skillet over high high (9 out of 10 on the Oliso Smart Hub). Pat the skins dry, then add the ghee to the skillet; once the ghee just starts to smoke, place the fish skin-side-down and sear until the skin is crisp and releases from the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a serving plate.
4. Scatter the filets with flaky sea salt, black pepper, and dill, then spoon a bit of the leftover olive oil and fish juices from the sous vide bags; serve immediately.
Full disclosure: Oliso sent me their smart hub, sous vide top, and vacuum sealer to try and provide feedback. I was under no obligation to write about the product; all opinions are my own.