With or without the sous vide machine?
I think you need a special machine, but I have read that you may poach fish in olive oil to get a similar effect.
A sous vide is not a necessity. You can sous vide halibut, for example, by placing it and the desired seasonings in a vacuum sealed bag and placing it in a pot of simmering water at about 125F. You must not let the packages tough the sides or bottom of the pan and you must keep them moving. I do this by holding them, 2 pkgs per hand. Takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Then cut packages open and serve. Learned this from my nephew the chef.
And here is a great video on how to sous vide salmon in the kitchen sink from one of the author's of The Modernist Cuisine. Love this! http://www.chow.com/food...
I am just starting a series of sous vide experiments and writing about them on my blog. The blog is http://seabirdskitchen...
results will be posted as they happen. Successes and failures!
I was lucky I had the great chef David Gilbert (http://beyondthekitchen...) helping me at first. In fact I borrowed his equipment!
There are a lot of things you might be asking about: equipment, techniques, temperatures, recipes, and so on. It sounds like you are just starting out, so I'll give you a list of the top things I wish I knew when I was starting out:
1. Do I need to buy dedicated equipment? Answer: for the very basic stuff, no, you can improvise in a variety of ways. But if you want to sous-vide once a month or more it's worth it.
2. What is the best way to sear after sous-vide? Answer: while blow torches have their advocates, I still prefer cast iron with a thin layer of grapeseed oil. Just make sure you heat it on high for 30 min of more to really get it blazing. A second option is a blazing hot charcoal grill, which also gets some smokey flavor.
3. Can I really leave food in the bath almost indefinitely without overcooking it? Answer: no. With many foods you have a fair amount of leeway (30-60 min) and many will claim you have more (up to several hours). Although food can't get hotter than the water temperature, it will get softer over time. Venison, in particular, gets mushy if overcooked.
4. I see cooking charts with very different times for different thicknesses. Does it really vary that much? Answer: Yes. Double the thickness and time to temperature will roughly quadruple. Follow the charts or get an app like SousVide Dash that computes times for you. [Disclaimer: I wrote this app so I'm biased towards it.]
5. Can I pre-cook, chill, and then reheat later? Answer: Yes, but when you chill do so in an ice bath that is 2/3 ice and 1/3 water. Drop the bag in and leave it there long enough to cool to the core. Don't just take the bag out of the circulator and put it in the fridge.
6. Can I pack herbs in the bag with my food? Answer: Yes, but start out with 1/4-1/2 the amount you would normally use and use a scrap of your plastic bag to keep them from direct contact with meat. Otherwise you can easily end up with a thyme-bomb.
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