Today, I have our Director of Catering/Operations, Ryan Crafts, explaining a new and exciting method of food prep called 'Sous Vide'. Take it away, Ryan!
- Pressure / vacuum. Packaging food in this way prevents flavors and juices from being absorbed (lost) by the cooking medium. Because of this, herbs, spices, and marinades are all profoundly more potent. Further, the act of compressing foods like melons, cucumbers and more creates entirely new foods of deeper flavor and compelling texture.
- Low Temperatures. We generally prefer to serve and eat beef at a perfect medium rare. However we roast whole sirloins in the oven at 350; we grill tenderloin filets at 550 or higher. Indeed with most cooking methods we use a temperature much higher than what we are targeting for our food. However with sous vide, we can cook at lower temperatures without worrying that the food will dry out or become overdone. If we want our beef to cook to 140 degrees, we use a 140 degree water bath. In its vacuum packaging, the food will stay moist and tender. Moreover the entire piece of food will be cooked to the same temperature and we can have a steak that is cooked medium rare edge to edge instead of well done on the outside and gradually changing to the medium rare in the center.
- Precision. The immersion circulators used in sous vide cooking are capable on maintaining a water bath at such a precise temperature that we can formulate recipes and cook food to temperatures accurately to a single degree. The guess work of cooking temperatures is eliminated and we become aware of nuances in the food previously hidden. Before sous vide cooking medium rare beef was 130-140 degrees. Now we understand that there are important differences to be found in 1-3 degree increments. We no longer have to shoot for that 10 degree range. We can cook our beef to a precise 139.5.