Friday, September 15, 2017
My Weekend Cooking Tip
In a word, two words, "sous vide." I was a fierce apostate until my daughter bought me the device last Christmas and a true believer ever since.
Granted my cooking is inspired by British chef, Heston Blumenthal, a champion of sous-vide but it wasn't until I tried it a couple of times that I became a total convert.
If you're unfamiliar with it, sous-vide is essentially water-bath cooking. The device itself is a combination precision heater and circulating pump. You take your food, put it in either a ziploc bag with the air carefully removed or, better yet, a foodsaver bag, get the water to the appropriate temperature, put the bag in the water and - wait.
It is not for the impatient. You must be prepared to wait, sometimes for hours. The way it works its magic is that it brings whatever you're cooking to the desired temperature, and not one degree more, all the way through. Once it's finished you remove it from the bag, pat it dry with paper towels, toss it into a preheated and very hot skillet, sear it for a couple of minutes (strictly for that great flavour) and serve.
It's not just meat either. You can sous-vide fish, vegetables, even eggs. If you can eat it, chances are you should be able to sous-vide it.
My kids really love my sous-vide burgers. Here's the drill. Two parts medium ground beef to one part ground pork. One red onion, minced. Blend in bread crumbs (Italian or panko), some fresh ground pepper, a moderate amount of Club House Montreal Steak Spice, a similar amount of Italian seasoning (to keep the salt content down) and, my secret ingredient - the North African spice, sumac.
I weigh the burgers, about 6 ounces, form them up, pop a couple into a foodsaver bag, vacuum seal them, and then into the water bath for 90 minutes at 134 degrees F. Out of the bag, dry them off, into the heated skilled for two minutes aside and then serve. You won't need a lot of condiments, slice of tomato and a little ketchup or mustard will probably do. Pop one of those into a nice bun, add a bit of salad, and - dinner.
There are plenty of different devices available. I got the one shown above for Christmas and it works just fine. Sometimes you can get one real cheap online.