Egg Bites from “Sous Vide Made Simple” by Lisa Q. Fetterman, Meesha Halm and Scott Peabody.
Photo: MONICA LO
Photo: MONICA LO

Make sous vide recipes immersed in flavor

Use your sous vide ciculator to make egg bites, dill salmon and crème brûlée

Can 2019 be the year you finally step away from dried-out slow-cooker meals and tough, overdone chicken breasts? Yes, if you add a sous vide circulator (also called an immersion circulator) to your cooking arsenal. This long, simple cylinder will store tidily on a pantry shelf, but when you put it to work there’ll be no more excuses for undercooked carrots or overcooked broccoli, or for tough shrimp in that pretty shrimp cocktail.

Sous vide cooking has been around for decades in restaurant kitchens making precision cooking possible on a large scale and rapidly.

Now small, affordable sous vide circulators are available for home cooks. The appliance goes into a container of water, and its heating coil and circulating fan produce a continuously circulating temperature-controlled water bath. Whatever you’re cooking goes into an airtight cooking bag and then into the water.

"Sous Vide for Everybody" from America's Test Kitchen
Photo: HANDOUT

Because the water will never get hotter than the temperature you set, assuming you program the correct cooking temperature it’s simply not possible to overcook your food.

And your food can sit at the perfect temperature for quite some time. Your chicken breast will be done in an hour, but it can sit in that water bath for four hours and not overcook.

Chef Nealey Thompson of The Cook’s Warehouse teaches the shop’s quarterly “Sous Vide 101” cooking classes. In working with her students, she’s found that steaks get people excited about sous vide cooking but once they understand the process, the sky’s the limit. “I love using my sous vide to prepare thick, bone-in pork chops, fried chicken, whole beef tenderloin, and even my Thanksgiving turkey,” she says.

She says many of Atlanta’s best restaurants have been using sous vide for years. “It is only since the invention of the portable immersion circulator that the technology has become accessible to home cooks. As demand has increased, the size of these units has decreased, along with the price!”

And although there are a lot of sous vide accessories available these days, she says a large stock pot and freezer-safe sealable food-storage bags are all you need to get started. 

Egg Bites

Sous vide for breakfast. No, this isn’t as fast as scrambling eggs, but it’s totally hands-off, and the little jars refrigerate perfectly so you can make one batch and then enjoy breakfast for several days. The recipe is for the simplest version. Customize it by adding 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1/4 cup cooked bacon or sausage or a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs like basil or chives.

— Adapted from a recipe in “Sous Vide Made Simple” by Lisa Q. Fetterman ($30, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House).

Dill Salmon from “Mastering the Art of Sous Vide Cooking” by Justice Stewart. CHEYENNE COHEN AND MANDY MAXWELL
Photo: For the AJC

Dill Salmon

If you’ve never been comfortable cooking fish, sous vide is the perfect tool for you. You can’t overcook it, and you just use the tiniest amount of fat. A quick sear when it’s done and dinner is ready.

— Adapted from a recipe in “Mastering the Art of Sous Vide Cooking” by Justice Stewart ($21.99, Page Street Publishing Co.).

Perfect Seared Steak from “Sous Vide for Everybody” from America’s Test Kitchen. AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
Photo: For the AJC

Perfect Seared Steaks

Steak is the thing that makes people fall in love with sous vide cooking. We’ve included a pan sauce recipe that goes together after the steaks are seared.

— Adapted from a recipe in ““Sous Vide for Everybody” by America’s Test Kitchen ($26.99, America’s Test Kitchen).

— Adapted from a recipe in ““Sous Vide for Everybody” by America’s Test Kitchen ($26.99, America’s Test Kitchen).

Creme Brulee from “Sous Vide for Everybody” from America’s Test Kitchen. AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
Photo: For the AJC

Crème Brûlée

Sous vide for dessert! Yes. Custards are exactly the right thing to make with a sous vide circulator. No hot spots. No roasting pan of boiling water and risking a burn when you lower a ramekin of custard into that boiling hot water. The custard cooks evenly and the result is silky smooth. No torch? You can use your broiler.

— Adapted from a recipe in ““Sous Vide for Everybody” by America’s Test Kitchen ($26.99, America’s Test Kitchen).

<<Sous vide appliances, class

The Cook’s Warehouse carries the Vesta Imersa Immersion Circulator ($169) and the All-Clad Sous Vide Immersion Circulator ($199). “The Vesta offers Wi-Fi enabled technology and an intuitive display. The All-Clad offers sleek design and uncompromising performance expected from the name brand.”

The Cook’s Warehouse offers a quarterly “Sous Vide 101” class. The next one will be in March. Check The Cook’s Warehouse class schedule for registration information.

<<Sous vide cookbooks

New to sous vide? Here are three recent cookbooks you might find useful:

“Mastering the Art of Sous Vide Cooking” by Justice Stewart ($21.99, Page Street Publishing Co.) organizes its recipes into proteins, vegetables, small plates, brunch and desserts. Stewart even explains how the sous vide can be your tool for foolproof versions of classic sauces like Béarnaise and Hollandaise.

“Sous Vide Made Simple” by Lisa Q. Fetterman ($30, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House) has 65 recipes, most of which are organized around basic master recipes like Slow-Cooked Pork or Flaky White Fish. The idea is that you will sous vide your protein or a vegetable like cauliflower or mushrooms, then use the spin-off recipes to turn your basic ingredient into dinner.

“Sous Vide for Everybody” by America’s Test Kitchen ($26.99, America’s Test Kitchen) takes an encyclopedia approach to sous vide cooking with the usual chapters on proteins and vegetables but including beans, grains and, our favorite, cocktails, in its 100 or so recipes.

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