Cooking vegetable and fruits sous vide is a great way to tenderize them without losing as much of the vitamins and minerals that are normally lost through blanching or steaming. Fruits can also be infused with liquid when cooked at lower temperatures when liquid is added to the bag.
Sous vide helps preserve the nutrients present in fruits and vegetables by not cooking them above the temperature that cause the cell walls to fully break down. This allows them to tenderize without losing all their structure. The bag also helps to catch any nutrients that do come out of the vegetable.
While time and temperature do not factor into safety for fruits and vegetables they do have a unique effect on their structure. There are two components to vegetables that make them crisp, pectin and starch. Pectin, which is basically a type of glue and is also used in jams and jellies for structure, breaks down at 183ºF / 83ºC at a slower rate than the starch cells do. In many cases this allows for more tender vegetables that have a unique texture to them.
The time component just governs how long the starches and pectin are breaking down for and how tender the vegetable will become.
Asparagus can be cooked many different ways, but using sous vide can remove most of the timing pressure. I especially like using sous vide on the thicker asparagus, since the lower temperature allows it to cook through without overcooking the outsides. For this recipe I like to combine the cooked asparagus with some olive oil infused with shallots and garlic then top it all off with some tarragon and lemon zest.
To showcase how versatile they are, I've taken these egg cup bites in a different direction by using tangy Gruyère cheese and hearty peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. I also replaced some of the heavy cream with cream cheese for a denser egg bite. Like all sous vide egg bites, you can serve them in the container or remove them and serve them on a plate. For an extra-fancy presentation I plate them then give them a sear with my torch for added color and flavor.
Using sous vide to lightly poach tomatoes results in a tender and moist side dish. The tomatoes are just heated through, not broken down, so cooking them at almost any low temperature works well. I usually serve them with steaks so I cook them at 131°F (55°C) because I toss them in with the steaks at the end of their cooking time.
Crisp, tart pickles are a constant in my refrigerator but many store-bought brands are filled with sweeteners and stabilizers. Making sous vide pickles at home allows you to use only the ingredients you want and they are especially tasty when cucumbers are in season at the farmers' market.
Cauliflower might be on the bland side, but when sous vided then combined with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper, it turns into a flavorful and filling side. With the addition of tart lime juice and spicy jalapeño pepper it's a complex dish that comes together in no time.
Earthy beets are a great combination with bright oranges and rich goat cheese. It is rounded out with some sweet balsamic vinegar and woody toasted walnuts. Beets work great with sous vide and turn out tender without drying out any.
This dish hinges on using the sweetest fresh corn and sous viding it. The sweetness of corn combined with the kick of ancho pepper powder with some sourness from feta cheese and lime zest makes for an amazing between-meals snack. Corn can vary widely in its tenderness, so it's often best to try a kernel raw before cooking it. This will give you an idea of how sweet and tender it already is and can inform your cooking time.
This sous vide pickling recipe uses a higher temperature to soften up the vegetables. It works great with carrots, green beans, and other tougher vegetables. The timing varies based on the vegetable, but following the general guidelines in the Cooking by Tenderness article will help give you an idea. Personally, I usually go a little shorter so the vegetables have more crunch to them. You can also mix up the spices and herbs to create your own flavor profiles.
These sous vide honey glazed carrots are sweet and tender, not to mention simple to make, which makes them one of my favorite sides! I like to use rainbow carrots, but you can really use any carrots you find that look good.
Using sous vide to glaze turnips is a simple process that results in a great side dish, especially when combined with umami-rich miso. You can also briefly cook turnips and their juices in a pan after sous viding them to reduce the sauce for a richer dish. This recipe also works well for other root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and parsnips.
The entire cooking process for rustic roasted garlic mashed potatoes is done in the sous vide machine to speed up the process and rely on higher temperatures to full tenderization. These mashed potatoes are hearty, chunky, and full of bold flavors.
This recipe makes a tender and moist side dish by lightly poaching tomatoes in the sous vide machine. The tomatoes are just heated through, not broken down so I throw them in with the sous viding meat at the very end. How convenient is that!
Butternut squash is a fun winter squash that is often made into a soup or puree. For variety I like to combine the sous vided squash with walnuts, goat cheese, sage and a drizzle of maple syrup for a chunky savory and sweet salad.
Sous viding sweet summer corn is one of my favorite methods to prepare it. Because it only needs a little heat to break down the outer layers of the kernels the cook time is pretty short, only about 15 to 25 minutes. This recipe cooks the corn with butter then finishes it with fresh basil and lime zest.
Fennel cooked sous vide becomes very tender in just 60 minutes and retains the majority of its flavor. This recipe adds orange zest, cloves and saffron to the bag before cooking for more interesting flavor levels. Cooking the fennel with a large dose of olive oil confits the
fennel, the excess olive oil can be used on other
dishes or in vinaigrettes.
While this recipe calls for many exotic ingredients they can be left out and the soup will still be very good. I've marked the ones that aren't critical to the soup as optional but I would try to add in as many as possible for the deepest flavor.
This is a unique mustard-vinegar potato salad which has a tartness not found in the typical mayonnaise based potato salads. The vinegar also helps this dish to complement fattier main courses like ribeye or duck breast. The sous vide potatoes turn out nice and tender and always perfectly cooked.
Simple and light is the key now that summer is in full swing and the gardens are putting out tons of fresh vegetables. This pomodoro sauce is a very fast sauce to make and makes great use of the fresh tomatoes from the garden. It really highlights the flavor of the tomatoes and herbs in it. Here I pair it with sous vide shrimp but it also goes great with chicken.
Sweet potatoes are a favorite food around my house and I'm always looking at ways to incorporate them into more dishes. To make them more convenient I often sous vide sweet potatoes. Here I take sous vide sweet potatoes cubes and combine them in a salad with beans and corn. The chipotle adds a nice burn to the usually super sweet potatoes and helps turn this into a savory salad.
This recipe works great for many types of vegetables including radishes, turnips, parsnips, or pearl onions. You can also try different herb combinations like rosemary and thyme for a more savory dish or tarragon and mint for a sweeter combination.
I am not Jewish, but I was recently invited to a Passover Seder and was requested to provide Gefilte Fish a traditional course during the Seder meal. Historically it is made with fresh water fish, but almost any fish will work. I used cod as it was the freshest local fish available and decided to turn it into a sous vide recipe.
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