What is Sous Vide?
Everything You Need to Know
Broadway by Amar Santana
328 Glenneyre St. Laguna Beach, CA 92651
ous vide (soo-VEED) is French for “under vacuum,” but it might as well be French for crockpot meets poaching mixed with your favorite food saver. Others describe sous-vide as a cooking method where food is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag and then cooked at a low temperature in a precisely controlled water bath. If you generally prefer when your meat is extraordinarily tender, and in some cases causes out of body experiences, then you’d probably be very interested in learning more about how sousvide is making a comeback among today’s foodies, and how to incorporate this technique into your next meal.
5 Great Sous Vide Machines for Home Cooks
PolyScience MX Immersion Circulator, $945.00
Sous Vide Supreme Demi Water Oven, $329.00
Anova Culinary Precision Cooker/Immersion Circulator $149.00
Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator $199
Gourmia Sous Vide Water Oven Cooker $250
Although this cooking method has been around for a couple of hundred years, it is starting to get quite a bit of attention lately (I even saw sous vide eggs on the breakfast Starbucks menu), yet at the same time, a lot of people still don’t really know what it is. So I sat down with celebrity Chef Amar Santana, Co-Owner of VACA and Broadway, in hopes that he could explain the integral, magical undertakings of this technique to our readers. Although our conversation started with him laughing and telling me how he is currently trying to get rid of the sous vide craze, he definitely established himself as an authority on this topic in the process. In conversation, I discovered that Chef Amar learned this technique from Michael Voltaggio while working in Sonoma at one of Charlie Palmer’s restaurants. Amar immediately fell in love with the texture it produced and started cooking everything (more or less) in a plastic bag. Lots of veal cheeks went into perfecting Chef’s technique and cooking temperatures. Today, Chef Amar prefers straight up old school cooking, but he still appreciates the benefits of sous vide and so you’ll still see it on his menu at Broadway with select menu items like sweetbreads and perfectly cooked one-pound pork chops, and that’s because this technique is always perfect and consistent — every time!
Sous vide cooking time is affected by three factors:
The core temperature you wish to achieve.
Heat transfer characteristics of the food.
Amount of food that will be cooked at once.
What once used to be a professional kitchen tool priced at well over 1500 dollars is now available around 400 dollars for the home-cook. Chef Amar recommends the brand PolyScience since they were one of the first that started doing heating circulators for restaurant use back when sous vide first became really popular in the 60s. If you’re trying this technique out for the first time, we recommend choosing an emersion circulator versus a water bath method; it’s more convenient when you’re setting up shop. Circulators are portable, and you can set up your workstation accordingly, whereas a water bath approach involves a whole machine that leaves you with yet another appliance on top of your counter. An important tip to note is that when you Cryovac, you have to make sure to get rid of all of the air that’s inside the bag, because if it’s not properly sealed, then there is an opportunity for bacteria to grow. You cannot overlook this part of the process because bacteria could grow at any time, especially when you are doing low temperatures. With the right equipment, proper cooking temperatures, quality sourced ingredients and a table full of foodies, you are all set for a consistently perfect dinner party — every time! Prepare to blow the mind of your dinner guests; you may have just signed up to host a weekly supper party.