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Thanks for all you do. What is the one thing you prefer not cooked sous vide versus conventional cooking?
- Darrin Wilson
Note:The following article is an edited transcript from the video.
This is a really great question!
We get in this kind of echo chamber when discussing the use of sous vide cooking. I feel there's two opposite groups of people. There's the one side who thinks sous vide is completely overrated; it can't do anything that you can't do with traditional cooking. Then there's the camp who thinks you should sous vide everything. You've probably seen the extreme of that in the once or twice a year joke post about "my popcorn is going in the sous vide machine".
Despite the fact I make a living from writing and talking about sous vide, I believe that not everything is better with sous vide. I really feel sous vide is another tool and depending on what you're trying to accomplish, it might be the best tool.
You want to make short ribs that have the texture of steak, you should be using sous vide. Because it's going to be more tedious and time consuming to cook short ribs for 72 hours without using an immersion circulator. You can accomplish this using other methods, but it's going to be a pain in the butt.
If you're trying to cook a ribeye steak then maybe cooking it on the grill is the best way. Ribeyes aren't my favorite sous vide steak. But I love sous vide strip steaks and sous vide sirloin steaks, and the only way I eat a chuck steak is with sous vide. But when possible, I love just throwing a ribeye on the grill, getting a nice char on it and enjoying it that way.
I think a lot of people are disappointed when they cook fish with sous vide. There's several types of fish preparation, but the 2 main general ones are grilled or pan-fried fish, and poached-like fish.
I always picture back in Boy Scouts when they would cook rainbow trout. They would catch them, clean them and then they throw them on the grill and it'd be nice crusty skin on one side with a few little grill marks on the top and that's all that would go into it. It was amazing and really flavorful.
But to replicate that with sous vide is almost impossible. The fish is only 1/2 inch, maybe 3/4 inch, thick which only needs to be grilled 2 minutes per side to bring it up to temperature. So trying to reproduce the type of fish that is seared and has a crusty outside and more rawish inside, or is just thin enough that it cooks all the way through by the time you get a sear on it with sous vide is just not a good choice of cooking techniques.
On the other hand, you can make a lot of flavorful poaching liquids to cook fish in. You can poach them in butter, or you can steam them, or use any other low temperature cooking method with this type of fish. I personally think sous vide makes a flavorful poached fish really, really good. It's an area that sous vide can make fish shine.
If you're trying to do a more poached-like preparation, I have a few fish recipes on the blog that cook at low temperatures and then serving it as part of a dish. However, if you want the more pan fried or grilled fish then cooking it sous vide isn't the best way to go. There's a lot that I don't use sous vide for, but when used on the right kind of fish dish it can certainly make a big difference.
Looking for a few good sous vide recipes? Here's some of my favorites:
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