Steve’s Sous-Vide Salmon Adventure

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[Back in December, Craig was shooting his movie in New York and Craig’s parents came to visit the set. While we were hanging out, I received an e-mail from a company called Sous Vide Supreme offering to send me a “demi” Sous Vide machine to write about on my blog. I politely refused (don’t have the space for it in L.A.) and mentioned it to Craig’s dad, Steve. “Oh gee,” he said, “I’d love to try some sous vide cooking at home.” “Well,” I said, “I could have them send the machine to you if you’d agree to do a guest post?” Julee, Craig’s mom and Steve’s wife, interjected: “Now Steve, do we really have room for that?” Steve brushed off her worry: “Let’s do it!” What follows is Steve’s account of cooking sous vide for the first time. Hopefully this is the first in a series of Steve’s sous vide cooking adventures. Take it away, Steve!]

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Several years ago, I had dinner at a very nice Seattle restaurant. I ordered short ribs and they were the most tender, velvety, perfectly-cooked short ribs I ever had.

I asked the server how they prepared them and he explained they were cooked “sous vide.” I had never heard this term before and he explained that it is a cooking method that uses a low-temperature water bath to cook vacuum-sealed food. It prevents food from being overcooked, will hold cooked food at a constant temperature until it is served. The result is tender, flavorful and perfectly cooked food that can be prepared with very little margin of error.

I was intrigued by this and wanted to try it at home. However, I learned the best sous vide cooking required special equipment, including a water heating tank and a vacuum sealer. These were beyond my budget so I dropped the idea.

Recently, my wife and I were in New York visiting with Adam Roberts, The Amateur Gourmet. (We are Craig’s parents). I mentioned my interest in sous vide cooking. Adam said he could provide me with sous vide equipment from SousVide Supreme if I would try it and report on the experience.

I jumped at this chance.

Adam sent me a SousVide Supreme tank, vacuum-sealer and plastic sealing bags and I was ready to go.

I chose a fillet of previously-frozen sockeye salmon:

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I found a recipe for Honey-glazed Salmon from the SousVide Supreme website. I divided the fillet into two servings and drizzled each with olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

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I filled the sous vide tank with water and heated it to 120 degrees, slightly more than recommended for rare.

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I vacuum-sealed each piece in the food-grade plastic pouches that were provided and placed them on the rack for immersion.

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The fillets went into the tank and I set the timer for 30 minutes while I prepared rice and wilted sautéed spinach.

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After 30 minutes, I removed the fillets from the water, opened the pouches and brushed the cooked fillets with a sauce made from honey, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and melted butter.

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The beauty of sous vide cooking is that I could have left the fish in the tank at a constant temperature for much longer (an hour or so) if needed without overcooking it.

I ran the salmon under a broiler for a few minutes to sear and color the fillets.

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The result was a perfectly cooked, delicious salmon dinner. We eat a lot of salmon here in the Pacific Northwest and this was among the best I’ve had. My wife, Julee, agreed wholeheartedly.

The SousVide Supreme equipment worked like a charm and has opened up a new world of home cooking opportunities for me. Here is the finished product:

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It was a great first experience with sous vide cooking. Thanks, Adam!

Next up – Rib Eye Steak cooked Sous Vide from Secrets of the Best Chefs.

I can’t wait!

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