Sous Vide Salmon – PolyScience Sous Vide Professional

Happy weekend to you!  If you are a frequent reader of Bunkycooks, you know that we spend a lot of time meeting with and interviewing some of the best chefs in the Southeast.  We have learned so much while talking with them and getting to spend a little time in their kitchens.  We have also dined at some pretty incredible restaurants along the way.  I am always interested in two things while we are On the Road visiting these chefs.  One is the source and quality of ingredients used and the second is the cooking technique.

There are several themes that are recurring.  Obviously, the freshest local, highest quality ingredients are needed to make extraordinary recipes.  In addition to the ingredients they use, many chefs have adopted a cooking technique called sous vide.  Since we already spend lots of time and countless dollars working with the best ingredients in our own kitchen, we decided to learn more about sous vide.

Sous vide is the French term for “under vacuum” and is a technique that cooks food in a vacuum sealed (cryovaced) bag submerged in water.  The water is circulated in the pot/tank and the temperature is perfectly and accurately controlled.  The objective is to cook the food to a very precise temperature.  No overcooking.  No undercooking.  Foods that are cooked using the sous vide method are prepared just right and perfectly cooked throughout.  The food is removed from the bag just prior to serving and seared in a very hot skillet.  Searing provides the wonderful caramelization and appealing color, adding to an already perfectly cooked and seasoned food.

Chef Kevin Rathbun, of Rathbuns’s and Rathbun’s Steak in Atlanta, mentioned two reasons why he has adopted sous vide in his kitchen.  Firstly, it creates a perfect dish that is ready when you are since it can be made ahead.  Secondly, it creates a cleaner kitchen.  There are fewer pots and pans and much of the mess is thrown away in those sealed bags when the food is removed.

Ready when you are and less mess in the kitchen got our attention.  😉 We looked into the various sous vide alternatives and decided to work with PolyScience Corporation to give sous vide a workout in our own home kitchen.  PolyScience is the choice of most chefs that we have worked with.  We received our PolyScience Sous Vide Professional Model about two months ago and have been cooking everything from fish, steaks, roasts and scallops to eggs and vegetables.

Now, before we go any further, let me just say that there is one negative report about sous vide.  There is the potential for bacteria to grow in the cryovaced bags which can be very harmful to humans. However, this only occurs if you keep the food cryovaced for extended periods of time or store it at the wrong temperature.  For everything that we did, we sealed and used the food within a 2-day window and stored it in the refrigerator.  Most people will seal the food in the vacuum bag, cook it and eat it the same day.  There is never a problem when used properly or when the food is consumed soon after sealing and cooking.  So, if you are considering sous vide to prepare food 3-5 days or a week ahead of time, you need to read and follow the directions for storage carefully.

So, what have we found?

We bought a center cut tenderloin (Chateaubriand cut) of locally raised beef and prepared it .  Wow!  We were very impressed.  The beef was perfectly cooked throughout.  The flavors were more intense as the spices infuse deeper into the meat when they are cryovaced.

This was a beautiful piece of local grassfed beef

Insert the slightly browned and seasoned beef into the water to cook

We prepared this tenderloin ahead of a dinner party.  I knew that I didn’t want to be fussing in the kitchen when my guests were arriving.  I wanted to spend time more time chatting and drinking wine (are you really surprised at that?!) and not worrying about the food.  Every piece of tenderloin was perfect.  Even though the tenderloin has a thick end and a thin end, the meat was evenly cooked throughout.  Normally, I end up with a section that is overdone and a section that is too rare.  Not this time.  It was perfect.  Chateaubriand is typically cooked to 132 degrees Fahrenheit, however I like mine a little more done (medium rare), so we cooked it to 138.5 degrees Fahrenheit (140 degrees is medium).  Just the way we like it.

Give the meat a nice sear

Perfectly cooked beef

This is my kind of dinner!

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