A couple of weeks ago I bookmarked an intriguing article from the Good Food lift out of The Sydney Morning Herald titled Simple Sous Vide For The Home, Minus The Fancy Equipment. Sous vide has taken the culinary world by storm. A trendy gastronomic technique that vacuum seals ingredients in airtight plastic pouches then slowly poaches them in a temperature controlled water bath. Scientific and rather formulaic in approach it produces perfectly cooked food every time. Vacuum-packaging seals in flavour and moisture. Temperature control and strict timing ensures even cooking. The end result is undeniably succulent, tender and delicious.
In the Sydney Morning Herald article chef Nicolas Poelaert demonstrates how the home cook can dispense with fancy and expensive equipment and prepare a sous vide style meal using nothing more sophisticated than a large pot, a snap lock sandwich bag, a food storage clip, a timer and a thermometer. Basic kitchen equipment readily available to most home cooks. The article provides a wonderful recipe for Cheat’s Sous Vide Chicken With Marjoram and Butter Dressing but as suggested by Poelaert, if trying this method at home for the first time. it’s probably best to begin with something simple.
And so it was I chose salmon. The processes I followed are photographed in the image carousel above. Two 150 gram portions; filleted, pin-boned and skinned by my obliging fishmonger. Seasoned with a little butter, lime zest and salt and pepper, each fillet was dropped into its own snap lock sandwich bag. When the bags were submerged into a large bowl of cold water, the pressure of the water gently forced out any air creating a vacuum seal. Ensconced in their pouches, the fillets were ready for a slow ten minute poach in a 60 C water bath. From beginning to end the entire process took just 15 minutes. Easy peasy. Simple and speedy.
My salmon was moist and tender and flaked easily with a fork. Ready to be incorporated into a salad or pasta dish. Of course the fillet can be eaten whole, as is or perhaps quickly seared in a hot fry pan to achieve a golden hue.
Sous Vide Salmon In A Snap Lock Sandwich Bag
Inspired by an article Simple Sous Vide For The Home, Minus The Fancy Equipment, Sydney Morning Herald, March 2014
Food-grade snap-lock sandwich bags (one for each piece of salmon)
Food storage clips (to secure each snap lock bag)
Large bowl filled with cold water
Pot of water (for cooking) heated to 60 C
Cooking thermometer (to ensure water remains at constant temperature)
Timer (to ensure salmon is cooked for exactly 10 minutes)
2 x 150g salmon fillets, pin-boned and skinned
25g butter, softened
finely grated lime zest
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
COMBINE softened butter with a little freshly grated lime zest. Spread evenly over each salmon fillet. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
PLACE a large bowl of cold water on your kitchen bench.
PLACE each salmon fillet into a separate snap lock sandwich bag, leaving each bag unsealed.
GENTLY and individually submerge each bag into the bowl of water until the water level is just below the snap-lock (make sure no water enters the bag). This will remove most of the air from the bag, similar to a vacuum.
SNAP the bag shut. For added protection, use a food storage clip to make sure the bag is sealed tightly.
HEAT a large pot of water to 60 C. Once the water reached the correct temperature I reduced the flame to its lowest heat setting and placed a simmer mat under the pot.
PLACE the sealed bags of salmon into the pot and cook at a constant 60 C for 10 minutes.
IMMEDIATELY remove the bags from the pot, and then remove the salmon from the bags.
SERVE with a leafy green salad. If you prefer you can quickly sear the fillets in a hot fry pan until nicely coloured, basting with a little butter or olive oil.