Sous vide fish in the dishwasher (or, who needs an immersion circulator?)
Last night some friends had a belated Chinese New Year potluck, and my daughter volunteered to bring a big ol' striped bass she caught last fall. Emboldened by my recent successes, I figured it'd be easy enough to wrap it in foil and steam it on the grill. The only problem was that it was longer than the grill is wide. Oops.
Too stubborn to just cut the fish in half, I started thinking of sous vide methods. I was about ready to start filling the bathtub with kettles of boiling water when I remembered seeing a "Surreal Gourmet" episode where Bob Blumer poached a foil-wrapped salmon in the dishwasher.
It makes sense - a dishwasher doesn't get that hot (ours maxes out at 161F), so it's a lot harder to overcook food than at higher temperatures. Not quite the same as cooking at exactly the desired target temperature (161F fish would be overcooked by my lights), but similar enough to other sous vide methods to give it a shot.
The upper rack of the dishwasher was just big enough to hold the fish, so I thawed it out, opened the vacuum packaging, made some slashes in the sides, filled them with garlic and ginger and stuffed the cavity with lemon, then re-sealed the bag, put it in the Bosch, and started a cycle.
An hour later, I pulled the fish out of the dishwasher and headed to our friends' house. Transportation was a snap because everything was contained in a vacuum-sealed bag. And the fish was a huge hit - both because it was perfectly cooked and because everybody was amused at the cooking method.
Normal, but I pulled it out after an hour (the full cycle takes about 85 minutes).
The ECO cycle uses cooler water, and I was tempted to try it, but couldn't find any information about the precise temperature and figured that slightly overcooked fish would be better received than sashimi. It came out just right, but that was blind luck.
Other dishwashers use different temperatures. Trial and error is probably the best way to go.
re: Sam Fujisaka
We have an ancient FoodSaver vacuum sealer (kind of like this: http://www.foodsaver.com/Product.aspx... ). The bag material comes in rolls, so you can cut off any length, seal one end, and put food in. The machine sucks all the air out and seals the other end.
The day this fish was caught, I gutted and gilled it, slipped it into a 36" long bag, vacuum sealed it, and popped it in the deep freeze. Because there was no air in the package, it wasn't freezer-burned even though it spent several months out there. Also because there's no air in the package, there's nothing to expand when the bag is heated.