Sous vide, gently cooking vacuum-sealed foods in a controlled temperature water bath, was once the technique of the culinary elite. Now, it’s commonplace both at home and in the general restaurant kitchen. Tons of restaurants now utilize the method on their menus, whether it be sous vide eggs, reverse-seared steak, or succulent salmon belly.
Honestly, though, sous vide steaks are a dime a dozen these days, and it’s getting kinda drab in the creative space. It’s time to go full-on Dexter’s Laboratory and see what CAN’T be done when it comes to sous vide.
James Briscione, the Director of Culinary Research at the Institute of Culinary Education, has shared with Foodbeast what he considers to be some of the most seemingly improbable sous vide dishes that you can possibly cook. We also came up with some off the wall ideas to try, if you’re up for the challenge.
This one is a bit tricky, since you need to extract sugars out of the mashed grain first before doing the sous vide. But since most home-brew kits start with a liquid concentrate, there isn’t too much need to stress. All you need to do is get the sous vide brew going, ferment and bottle it, then get ready to crack open some custom-made cold ones with the boys.
You can do any type of custard in a sous vide, so go for the full experience and burn some cream. Chef Briscione recommends using jars to ensure no water gets inside, but keep them loose enough that air can get out and prevent any internal explosions. They’ll take about an hour to set at 85 degrees Celsius.
When it comes to flavor, the world is your oyster here. Passionfruit, matcha, anything really, can go inside. You can even channel your inner Doctor Who and make some fish fingers to go with it.
Sous vide cakes tend to be dense but gooey, making lava cakes the perfect one to try first. Don’t just make undercooked cake, though, as that’ll piss Jon Favreau off. The Chef method of lava cake prep, where you surround a frozen ganache dome with batter, is recommended here. Crank the bath up to 85 degrees Celsius so that the cake cooks, but the chocolate inside melts.
Brownies and Blondies
Once you’ve got cake down, keep the sous vide sweet tooth going with jarred brownies or blondies. It’s 2018, so you can even make your own versions imbued with some Mary Jane, if you want. Sous vide edibles, anyone?
Jams and Jellies
PB&Js just got way less stale. The humble bachelor snack/meal goes a level up whenever you do something homemade, especially with some custom jam flavors. Although most fruits work here, I’d avoid pineapple. No offense to it, but it’s got something inside called bromelain that’ll liquify your jellies into tears of sadness.
Just like Grandma used to make. If she was living in the future, that is. Jarring your own pickles via sous vide is the 2018 way to stay traditional, and you’ll get pretty similar results. Wins all around.
If you’ve never made fresh ricotta, definitely give it a go with sous vide. It’s pretty easy, since you just need milk, acid, and salt. From there, the cheese has a TON of uses. Eat it warm straight outta the bowl, dollop into pancakes, spread over lasagna… I’m drooling just thinking about it.