Sous-Vide, exactly what is it?
Used in many gourmet restaurants, sous-vide is a modern cooking technique which involves cooking food that is vacuum sealed in airtight plastic pouches at a very consistent, precise temperature for long periods of time. The basic nature of this cooking technique allows you to prepare food to perfection while, at the same time, eliminates anxieties about overcooking.The sous-vide method yields better and different results than conventional cooking. The textures and flavors developed by this unique cooking technique cannot be replicated using any other conventional cooking technique. Apart from producing extraordinary results, sous-vide method is tremendously simple and foolproof. Capturing the true aroma and food flavors, it retains the nutritional value, gourmet taste, and natural juices of the foods.
To cook food with the sous-vide method, you can vacuum seal food in sturdy plastic bags certified for this purpose. Drop the bags into specifically controlled water bath. However, this method can vary from 20 to 30 minutes for food items like scrambled eggs and lean fish, and it can go to as long as 72 hours for items like tough meats such as spareribs. The time taken to cook a given portion of the food to be brought to its desired temperature depends on its thickness and not overall weight. Tender food items like beef or pork tenderloin, shellfish, fish, and lamb chops are required to come to desired temperature to be luscious and ready to eat. Tender steaks and chicken breasts normally take one to two hours cooked sous-vide, depending on thickness. The best part of sous-vide technique is that, unlike other cooking methods on the grill, oven, or stove, sous-vide is forgiving. Many times, food is left undisturbed for much longer in the water bath, yet still retains the texture, flavor, and appearance of these food items.
Although any kind of meat is perfect for sous-vide, it works well with delicate or tender foods, such as lamb, beef, pork, or fish, ensuring that these items are not overcooked. You can also use this method to prepare béarnaise sauce, cheese, yogurt, and custard-style ice cream base as well. Basically, anything that needs precise temperature can be a contestant for sous-vide cooking. Moreover, as the sous-vide process locks in natural flavors of your food, you can apply seasonings with a light hand.Many foods like one-dish meals, fruits and vegetables are delectable straight from the bags. Meat items, such as fish and poultry, are also ready to eat, but may do well when browned on the grill, under the broiler, or sautéed in a skillet. Consider, for instance, grilling or broiling steak. You normally cook a steak at temperatures ranging from 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 204 Celsius to 500 F or 260 C. As a result, the steak becomes charred on the outside while the inside can still be uncooked. Thus, your steak could be overcooked when exposed to such high temperatures.
However, with the sous-vide method, your food will be cooked precisely and gently at the desired temperature. In this example, your steak can cook at 134 F or 56 C for perfect medium rare. This is because the water transmits heat to the sealed food 10 times more proficiently than air does, thus imparting complete safety to the food.
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