And what better way to blend the two than with the sous vide method of cooking?
Sous vide (it sounds like “sue veed”) is French for “under vacuum.” It involves putting meat, fish, vegetables, or even fruit in a cooking-grade plastic pouch, removing all the oxygen and slow cooking the pouch in a temperature-controlled water bath. While the process may sounds strange at first, the results are amazing.
“The beauty of this method is that it is a proven way to lock in flavor and juices while taking food from a raw state to a precise level of doneness,” explains Dan.
Now, More Ways to Enjoy
Our chefs are constantly looking for ways to enhance the flavor experience of our menu items. Because of that, we’ve recently expanded our use of the sous vide method. In addition to our steak and slow-roasted turkey, we have added a hand-grilled salmon fillet and steel-cut oatmeal to our offerings - both of which take full advantage of the science behind sous vide cooking. Very often, sous vide is employed as a finishing process. With our salmon, for example, the fish is hand-grilled over an open flame, then wrapped and slow-cooked to doneness.
But the benefits go beyond basic flavor. Sous vide preserves more of the food’s original color, texture, and nutrients than other forms of cooking because the natural structure of food doesn’t change. In fact, the results are so consistently excellent that sous vide has become the preferred cooking method in many fine restaurants.
Bringing Sous Vide Home
Before you try sous vide in your home kitchen, Dan suggests a little food science 101. The consistency of the water temperature is vital both to food safety and flavor. In fact, while it may sound easy - wrap raw food in cooking-grade plastic and slow cook in water - the method is actually quite complex. Dan suggests investing in a high-quality sous vide oven (which looks like a cross between a slow cooker and a bread maker) for the best results at home. “You definitely want to do your homework. It’s an investment, and a commitment.” Entry-level machines generally run about $300, but some models cost into the thousands.
A sous vide cookbook or app can also be a great tool for getting started with the new method. Dan recommends:
- Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide by Thomas Keller and and Harold McGee (just under $50).
- Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet. This one will cost you about $450. But if you can afford the splurge, Dan calls this six-volume, 2,400-page set “simply amazing!”
- Sous Vide, an app from Primolicious LLC. $1.99, available for both iPhone, iPad, and Android.
- Sous Vide Dash, an app from Spot Dash Dev LLC. $4,99, available for iPhone and iPad.
But whether you sample sous vide in a five-star restaurant, at your local bakery-cafe, or at home, there’s no better way to lock in flavor and take the guesswork out of a finished dish.