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Jan 17, 2009 06:25 AM


Looking for new and interesting ideas on things to sous-vide.
I've done the fish, short ribs, veal cheeks, & endive to name a few.
What am I missing?


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  1. Since there may be others, like me, who had never heard of the term I've included the Wikipedia link:

    Do you have one of the machines they mention? Cost? Seems like a pretty specialized process for home cooks. I'll be interested to see what others post here. Thanks for introducing me to something new.

    8 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Hi C- a lot home home cooks do sous vide by putting the protein and herbs etc in a ziploc then in the water. In theory, it can produce a bacteria bc the food is cook slowly at such a low temp. Because of that, I have never tired it at home. I have had things cooked sous vide in restaurants. Because of the cost of the machines (very expensive) I cant see many people buying them. I am interested to hear if many people try sous vide at home. I have not had too much interest in exploring this technique, I feel like I have enough mountains to climb with the basics.

      1. re: cassoulady

        cassoulady, what you are describing isn't actually sous vide. Your ziploc bag method does not create an anerobic environment, thus botulism is less of a concern. Sous vide translates literally as "under vacuum. Harold McGee comments in this post:

      2. re: c oliver

        Thermal immersion circulators can sometimes be found used for a few hundred bucks, but for home cooking, a $150 PID controller will do the trick in conjunction with your rice cooker, crock pot, or tabletop roaster. I've even used the crock pot by itself, adjusting the lid to regulate the temperature. You don't get the extremely consistent temps that you would with a controller of some sort, but the results are similar.

        Ziploc bags might be a challenge, because it's hard to get all the air out. A vacuum sealer like FoodSaver or Seal-a-Meal makes that easy.

        To the OP: steaks, chops, and small roasts all do well; sous vide at a temp just below the desired level of doneness, then a quick sear to crust up the outside. And don't forget fois gras - it's the reason sous vide was invented.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          do you think it is worth trying without the proper tools?

          1. re: cassoulady

            Not quite sure what you mean by "proper tools." But I make do with a a crock pot, a probe thermometer, and a vacuum sealer. Matter of fact, I just pulled a slab of pork belly out of the freezer and am planning to sous vide it today. So yeah, I think it's worth trying.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              I do not have a vacuum sealer- will it still work?

              1. re: cassoulady

                Probably. The trick is going to be getting all the air out of the bags.

                If you've got some liquid in the recipe, that should be do-able - put the ingredients in a zip-top bag, seal almost completely, squeeze until liquid starts to ooze out of the open portion of the zipper, then complete the seal.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  thanks, I have been a little apprehensive about trying this, but I think i will.

      3. I don't know if you've included shellfish under your fish category but Lobster is a no brainer to sous vide. So good.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

          I have done shrimp and scallop sous vide, at fairly high temperatures, and they were really good.
          Lobster scares me because it is just killed meat, and takes more time, even in pieces, and it will be in a danger zone for a long time. Anyone tried this? Recommendations?

          1. re: jayt90

            I'd be hesitant to do a whole lobster, or even shell-on pieces. Every poached lobster recipe I've ever seen (conventional, fat-poached, or sous vide) calls for removing the meat from the shell first. So it really shouldn't be much different than what you did with the scallops. If you're worried about bacterial growth, just use a temperature over 130F. (And observe basic hygiene precautions, but that goes without saying.)

            1. re: jayt90

              Sorry, by lobster I mean shelled lobster tail. Like Thomas Keller's Sous Vide Maine lobster tail for example. (as someone has already mentioned his sous vide book in this thread) Great recipe by the way.

              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                If I dismember a live N.S. lobster, and put the tail and claw meat in a sealed bag, how long to cook it in water, and what temperature? I have always thought that lobster has to be steamed or at boiled immediately after killing it, so the amount of time in sous vide is critical, as well as temperature.

          2. I will definitely try very good quality chicken breast, poussin, pheasant, rabbit, lamb, goat, etc. Things that traditionally will dry out easily when cooking with traditional methods. The beauty of sous-vide is that it can make any meat tender and juicy. I never realized that chicken breast can taste so tender and juicy until I tried on that was sous-vided.

            1. A sous vide cookbook titled <Under Pressure> was just published a few months ago, written by Keller, et al. There are some beautiful photos and "recipes." Gives lost of ideas, too.


              If you have the cryovac machine, try compressing chunks of melon. They become dense, intensely flavored morsels, and do not require cooking.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Non Cognomina

                Non Cognomina, does the melon become chewy like a dried apricot, for instance, could you describe the texture? Very sweet? How would you use it?
                It sounds delicious and I'm intrigued. Honeydew candy!

                1. re: blue room

                  I've only tried it with watermelon (seedless). The texture is smoother and firmer than watermelon--more like a cantaloupe. The flavor and sweetness factor is intensified by the compression. I first tasted it at per se, although I don't remember what it was served with. I've since had it at Bouchon and Ad Hoc in Yountville, both times cubed and served in the salad course. The best thing of all (in my opinion) is to eat it out of hand--not creative, but oh so good!