Saturday, February 5, 2011
It begins with eggs......
For anyone that has been to any fine dining restaurant over the past few years, one style of cooking has been creeping in to the menu - Sous Vide dishes.
Sous Vide translates to under vacuum and is the process of precision cooking in a water bath. Generally items such as meat are vacuum sealed and cook at the optimum temperature for the contents without risk of overcooking or undercooking. Because the temperature of the item never exceeds it's optimum cooking point, it will heat and stabilise cooking consistently edge to edge. No burnt on the outside, raw on the inside chicken which has been the undoing of many an amateur cook.
I find this all quite exciting and have been looking at how one can do this at home. It is possible to use ziplock bags and monitor the temperature on the stove with a pot of water. The problem with this is that it is almost impossible to regulate precise temperature and a ziplock bag is not capable of removing all the air.
SousVideMagic 1500D attached to Breville Rice Cooker
For the past few months I have been looking for practical and affordable ways of cooking sous vide at home and recently came across the SousVideMagic 1500D which for $159.50 will convert a regular rice cooker in to a precision water bath. You want 61C it will do it, you want 61.2C it will do it and so on.
To be honest I had low expectations, but to my surprise it was up and running in 15 minutes and to kick off my sous vide journey I chose eggs. While not under vacuum, eggs are an interesting proposition, they have two different types of proteins which set at different temperatures.
My first go was to cook 62C eggs. The reason for 62C? it is the same temperature as what Cafe Vue serve their eggs, simple and safe.
62c Eggs on Ciabatta - Glistening white, custard yolk
Dropping the eggs in to the water bath, I came back one hour later to open the eggs and to my delight they were perfect. The egg white was a shimmering translucent white wobbly like jelly and the yolk is like a custard, not hard, not runny but custard. Superb.
The most interesting and exciting thing about this style of cooking is the relative infancy of it. So many questions and ways of cooking to be explored. Compared to baking, roasting and frying which has been around for centuries, this is the brave new world. No longer are eggs fried, poached or scrambled, precision cooked is the new way!
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