Sunday, 9 September 2012

DIY Sous Vide - Salmon

According to Heston (see article) all foodies should have a sous-vide. Well I hate to burst his, no doubt elaborataly formed, bubble but not all of us have a spare £300 for a water bath, and another hundred for a (not even professional) vacuum sealer. Nevermind the fact that each of them are the size of the microwave, it's probably one of the most inconvenient gadgets you would be likely to purchase.
Sous-vide is the new standard in cooking and allows for ultimate temperature control to cook your food evenly while not overcooking the outside, also the main advantage is that if temperature is maintained it'll never overcook. No excuse for inconsistency if a restaurant uses one of these!
Help is at hand for those wanting to do sous vide at home, a few fellow foodies have been fighting the system, and have come up with some DIY methods to do your own sous vide set up. It's all very 'Blue Peter' but it does the job....just about

Professional sous-vide - Cha-ching

My ghetto sous-vide - polystrene box!
My set up is fairly simple, a large polystrene box with lid, digital thermometer, sealable bag. For this purpose I was using salmon, mainly because it requires fairly short cooking time of 15 minutes and the temperatures for sous vide are around 48-50ºC

Just above the 50ºC that I wanted, cooled gradually with cold water
I had tested my set up before using it to cook. It loses about 2 degrees over an hour, not disastrous, but too much of a change to cook steak which requires a greater temperature control that would distinguish between say medium and medium rare. I could kind of afford this loss with the salmon by starting at 50ºC. Conveniently, the water from my hot water tap came out at 51ºC.

Salmon 'vacuum packed'
So how did I vacuum pack it I hear you cry? Simple really, I put the salmon in the sealable bag, and manually push out as much air as possible and seal it until the last couple of cms, then plunge it slowly into the water then by the wonders of physics the air is pushed out of the bag under the pressure. As you can see the salmon is tightly sealed in the bag. Works a treat

After 15 minutes in the box was over I pan fried it, skin down for an extra minute in some groundnut oil.
The money shot
The final temperature of the water was about 48.5C, so I need to work on this prototype to hold the temperature longer . The salmon, however, came out beautifully. The texture is very soft and velvety, I won't lie I was nervous before eating it, it still holds that distinct bright orange colour, but upon pulling at it with a fork it flakes the same as other cooking methods. I had this with some bok choy fried in mirin and some jasmin rice, simple dish as just wanted to concentrate on getting the salmon right. I would definitely recommend trying this out, it's good fun setting up the apparatus, and if you get it right the results are very impressive.
Since I did this I've now red that salmon should be pre-brined to stop the albumin leaching out, so seems like this could have been even better

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  1. Try putting a couple of bricks heated to 50C in the bottom of your container. The additional thermal mass will slow the temperature drop.

  2. Food packaging machine have come up in the market. This is ensure that the lifespan of your food increases to some extent. Come here and get more info about vacuum sealer.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. As opposed to what is important to assume simply by taking a look at his or her reasonably priced costs, Deni vacuum sealers are really one of many more efficient people in the market.

  5. Another useful article about sous vide cooking skill, thanks for the post.

  6. I've read a lot about sous vide cooking style, and you gave me more detailed about sous vide cooking skill, thanks for sharing


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