When I started to get more seriously into cooking, I also began to read more about it online and in magazines. I came across Chef Steps and immediately loved the content and style of it. The primary format they use is video which makes it easier to understand the more advanced techniques that they share. Their core mission is to bring restaurant chef quality recipes and techniques to the keen home cook.
It is through them that I first heard about sous-vide cooking. It has been long used by restaurants as a way to not only cook meat and fish to perfection but also to keep ingredients at the right temperature for a long period of time without degrading their quality. It basically involves cooking things slowly in a water bath heated at the same constant temperature. Up until recently, it wasn’t accessible to the home cook as the equipment was bulky and expensive but Chef Steps have brought out their own immersion circulator device called Joule, which changes that. I pre-ordered it as soon as it came out but unfortunately its release has been postponed indefinitely so I bought the competitive product, the Anova, which has the same functionality.
I couldn’t wait to try it on salmon as soon as I received it. I like my salmon pretty rare but that’s difficult to achieve on the stove top or the oven as it can easily over-cook or stay too raw and cold in the middle. I researched how to best cook it sous-vide and settled on a couple of different things to get the best results.
I first dry cured the salmon in a very generous coating of salt and sugar. This draws out excess moisture and leave the fish firmer but also brighter in color. After 20 minutes, I thoroughly rinsed the fish in iced water and then patted it dry before placing in a bag with some olive oil and vacuum sealed it. I set the Anova for 125F and when it got to the desired temperature, I placed the fish in it for 20 minutes. The resulting salmon was the most perfectly cooked and tastiest one I’ve ever made. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to cook in this way for my next Gourmet Sunday with friends.
I came across this salmon with fava beans (I used edamame instead), morels and a green goddess sauce recipe which seemed like the perfect candidate. In my mind there is nothing better than a creamy sauce that calls for tarragon, parsley, basil and dill all together since I love fresh herbs. Instead of pan searing the salmon as the recipe called, I simply cooked it sous-vide. I also made my mum’s gratin again but this time a creamier version of it which was melt in your mouth delicious.
The next ingredient I wanted to experiment with was beef tenderloin for my crostini appetizer. The day before, I set out to test 2 different ways of cooking it based on the research I had done. I generously seasoned both pieces of meat with salt and pepper and placed one of them as is in a bag that I vacuum sealed. I pre-seared the other before placing it in a bag with olive oil. The Anova was set for 130F and I left the meat in there for 2 hours (I have since read that you can cut that down to an hour). After that, I seared both steaks and left them to rest for 5 minutes. Both came out perfectly medium-rare. I don’t think that pre-searing made much difference but the steak that was cooked without olive oil was even tastier so I will be doing that moving forward.
I served these perfect little slices of beef on homemade crostini with a dollop of whipped cream cheese mixed with horseradish cream and a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives.