Do you sous vide? You may not have a clue what that means, but make no mistake–you soon will. Sous vide is an increasingly popular method of cooking that started in France and has made its way to America.
It has been increasing in popularity among chefs around the nation, and many home cooks are sitting up and taking notice. It’s a type of cooking that has benefits and is actually easier than it seems, once you learn a little about it.
“People are always looking for ways to improve things in the kitchen, and this is one more option that may do just that,” explains Chef Paul Anthony Fario, known as “Chefario,” the executive chef at Arlington, Virginia-based Extra Virgin restaurant. “Whether you are doing it in a professional atmosphere or at home, there is a small learning curve, as with anything else. But once you get that down, you will be successful.”
Sous vide (pronounced soo veed) is a slow heated method of cooking. Sous means ‘under,’ and vide means ‘vacuum.’ Food is vacuum-packed into sealed plastic bags and then slow-cooked under water.
This form of low-temperature water cooking extends the time foods cook. When the foods are finished, they are either used right away or shocked in cold water and kept in the refrigerator for heating up.
The benefits of sous vide cooking include helping the food retain moisture, flavor, and nutrients. For many people, this is a convenient method of cooking. They also find that, because the plastic bag locks in the moisture and flavors, the food is better tasting and healthier.
Here are a few tips for successful sous vide cooking:
- For starters, don’t be afraid to try it. Many times, people are intimidated about new cooking methods and shy away from them. Just give it a try!
- Get the equipment you need to be successful. Some people who plan to do it regularly invest in sous vide immersion heaters. It’s also important to have sealable bags, no matter how you are doing the cooking. There are special sous vide cooking bags available, or many people choose to use Ziploc re-sealable freezer bags.
- It’s ideal to cook all the food at the temperature at which it will be served. Typically, the temperature in sous vide cooking does not exceed 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Both the time and temperature will affect the outcome of what is being served, so it is important to do a quick search on how long your items should be cooked.
- Always heat the water to the desired temperature prior to adding the bags of food that will be cooked.
- Getting started in sous vide cooking, as in any new cooking method, takes time to learn and practice to get better. So keep practicing.
“It can be a lot of fun to try a new cooking method,” Chef Fario says. “Get what you need, keep an open mind, and give it a try. You are going to be pleasantly surprised!”