Sous vide is a simple process of cooking although its fancy name may suggest otherwise. All you need to do is to seal up your ingredients in a plastic bag. Place the bag in a heater or cook and set a target temperature. Once your machine reaches that target temperature, turn it off and take out your food. Give it a quick sear and serve it. That’s all there is to it.
Sous vide is especially useful for seafood and meat since the proper doneness for this kind of food may vanish when you use traditional method to cook them.
Take for instance what happens when you are frying fish. Within a narrow temperature, the flesh of the fish becomes succulent and tender. But when it reaches certain temperature levels, you get a fish with overcooked hard edges with – sometimes – undone center. This often happens when you use a pan, which comes with least a 3920 F hotter than the ideal temperature for fish. Moreover, the idea of keeping chicken breast and other poultry cuts at a target temperature is so as to kill potential pathogens and keep your food safe.
Although sous vide has its origin in French – it is a French word for “under vacuum” – the central focus is not just vacuum sealing. Rather, the central focus is precise temperature control. For instance, a computer controlled heater can heat food to a low temperature level that you desire and keep it there for hours on end. This shows that the mastery over the amount of heat that is supplied to the food cooking gives you – or the chef or the cook – several advantages. One of these is the freedom from the tyranny of the clock. Conventional cooking requires that you monitor your cooking and be exact with while at it. A couple minutes of inattention can result in overcooked food.
Why are so many cooks turning to this technique and how it can improve your food at home? Here are a few you can chew on:
One of the things that often prevent people from taking advantage of sous vide is the general conception that it is difficult especially for those who are just starting out. Contrary to this, sous vide is actually a simple process. Only that it needs some attention at the beginning, as mentioned at the beginning of this article. Sous vide follows a definite and straightforward process that once mastered don’t need extra effort or knowledge compared to conventional method of cooking.
One of the advantages that sous vide has over the traditional cooking techniques is the tenderness it brings to food. Because of the low temperature maintained throughout the cooking, cells on meat don’t burst and the soft collagen found in the connective tissue of meat is broken down without the protein being heated up such that it loses its moisture. In addition, you can cook vegetables and achieve great tastes with it. Even with that, vegetables is one of the food where tenderness and softness may not be desirable so with the precise temperature control, you will be within limits.
Because sous vide uses vacuum sealed bags in keeping the food, a humid environment is created such that the aromas and moisture that is lost during cooking is preserved and retained. Thus, your food become braised and with this added juice, your food will come out with more flavor and texture than if you were to use conventional methods.
One of the downsides of sous vide is the time it takes to prepare a cut of meat or a chicken breast or any meat for that matter. Although a cut of meat takes only a few minutes to cook with conventional methods, sous vide may have you wait for as long as 1 hour or 2 hours. In addition to that, a chicken breast with bone will probably take 2 to 4 hours to be properly cooked when you sous vide while the same may be done in 30 to 40 minutes in a pan.
Although the cooking time is longer with sous vide, once you taste the food with the tenderness and flavor that comes with that, you will see that the longer cooking time is worth the grain. Another important advantage is that once you have your ingredients in the machine, you don’t need constant monitoring nor do you need to pay full attention to what you are cooking. You will have sheer time to focus on other important aspect of cooking.