sous vide cooking

A couple months back, I posted my first sous vide recipe, this Sous Vide Salmon. Since then I’ve been enjoying this new technique as a unique way to cook food, especially lean meats, with precise results. A recent favorite has been sous vide steak, as it cooks the steak to an even internal temperature and only requires a quick sear to improve its outer texture.

I own and enjoy this Oliso SmartHub sous vide oven, which doubles as an induction cooktop for searing (and it boils water super quickly). There are plenty of other sous vide options out there, and I’ve heard great things about this Anova Bluetooth precision cooker (which is significantly cheaper than my Oliso setup, but requires you to use your own pot, and doesn’t double as an induction cooktop).

Flat iron steak comes from the cow’s shoulder, in the same region as cuts labeled as “top blade”. It is cut against the grain, well-marbled, and considered a cheaper steak cut because it quickly becomes tough when cooked beyond medium doneness; this is where a sous-vide cooking method really shines, since we can cook to a precise temperature. For today’s recipe, we’ll cook the steaks to 128F, followed by a sear which will likely raise the internal temperature to ~130F, just a hair under the definition of medium-rare.

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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.

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