Sous Vide for Everybody
The best new cooking method in a generation is coming to home kitchens.
Easy, convenient, and hands-off. Sous vide cooking is a relatively new technique to arrive in the home kitchen. French for “under vacuum” because it often involves sealing food in plastic, sous vide allows you to cook food gently in an automatic water bath to the perfect temperature. From the perfect seared steak to crème brûlée with the ideal consistency, sous vide makes cooking easier and more foolproof, taking away all the guesswork and giving you back free time.
A thorough front section explains sous vide cooking and where it originated, offers how-tos and what-you’ll-needs including our picks for the best sous vide devices, and a Q&A that will make you a sous vide savant.
Foolproof Hands-Off Recipes Include
The closed environment of sous vide cooking prevents moisture loss, and the steady lower temperature activates enzymes that slowly break down collagen (a process that stops at higher temperatures) to produce the most tender, juicy meat you’ll ever taste.
Eggs and Dairy
Eggs are tricky to cook. The white and yolk behave differently when subjected to heat because they have different proportions of proteins, fats, and water. Eggs are perhaps the poster child for sous vide cooking: You can play with time and temperature (use our great chart!) to get the exact texture desired.
Vegetables are prime candidates for sous vide cookery. As America’s Test Kitchen alum J. Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote on Serious Eats: 'It’s one of the few cooking methods where the end result is a vegetable that tastes more like itself than when you started.'
Sous vide works particularly well with creamy, custardy desserts—from pudding to ice cream—and with firm fruit-based desserts. Mason jars make things even easier: Cook and serve in the same container.
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What is sous vide?
Even if you weren’t familiar with sous vide before picking up this book, chances are you’ve eaten food prepared this way. In the past decade, this method—cooking food in a precisely controlled water bath—has trickled its way down from Michelin-star restaurants such as Alinea in Chicago and Per Se in New York to chains including Chipotle, Panera, and Starbucks. And now it has entered the home kitchen.
Here’s how it works A sous vide machine (also called an immersion circulator) is used to preheat a water bath to a precise temperature. Food is sealed in plastic bags (though not always; you can also sous vide in glass jars, and eggs can be cooked right in their shells) and immersed in the bath. The food eventually reaches the same temperature as the water, which is often set to the ideal serving temperature of the final dish. For meat, poultry, and fish, there is usually a quick searing step before serving. This differs from conventional stovetop and oven methods, in which the heat used is much higher than the serving temperature of the food, making it imperative to remove the food at just the right moment, when it’s done but not overcooked.
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