When I first heard the term sous-vide, I heard the French meaning: under vacuum. Sous-Vide is a way of cooking where you vacuum seal whatever food you want inside of a plastic bag and place it underwater. The water is kept at a certain temp, and circulated throughout the cooking process. This allows the food to be cooked on, or rather, cooked around a uniform, constant cooking surface and, if done correctly, results in precise, uniform, and juicy food. Kind of like deep frying, but without the fat and fire hazard and at much, much lower temps (it’s water after all). Seasonings and fats can be included inside of the plastic bag prior to cooking.
After coming to understand the actual cooking method that it is, I became intrigued, especially since I kept hearing this term, sous-vide this, sous-vide that, around the high-end restaurant circles. It seemed to be a trend. It also seemed to be something generally unattainable for the home cook. A sous-vide machine, a good one, can cost upwards of $800. Most of these myths and misconceptions of mine were dispelled last night.
T’was my honor and privilege to pay $45 to be instructed by the humble yet knowledgeable Viet Pham of Forage restaurant, and not to beat a dead horse, but he was just featured on the cover of Food and Wine magazine as one of the best new chefs in America.
There were a few mishaps like the noise level and Viet’s soft-spoken voice not mixing well, but overall, he made himself extremely accessible for any and all questions. The demonstration was slow (maybe a little too slow with the case of the carrots) but well paced. The food was fantastic. For his first time teaching the class in the Caputo kitchen, he and his lovely assistant Vanessa Chang, did an excellent job.
I hope Viet comes back to do many more classes.
A little information that I learned about sous-vide cooking.
1. There’s a big misconception that it’s only capable of one texture.
2. It’s entirely possible to successfully sous-vide with just a big pot of water, a timer, and a good thermometer.
3. It can be used in conjunction with other cooking techniques, as you’ll see with the steak
The texture of the meat was incredible. Almost filet-like. The color was marvelous and so was the taste. The fibers in the meat were barely there. It was served with an excellent, quick sauce of garlic, arugula, lemon zest, and olive oil.
We also had sous-vide salmon that I thought was cooked perfectly, but Viet thought it was slightly overdone, much to my surprise. He torched some cedar planks for addition flavor and brushed them with a Slide Ridge honey-vinegar sauce that took back seat to the salmon’s own natural flavor even though the honey-vinegar is a very assertive taste. Carrots where also on the menu, but they took longer than expected so only the hardcore folks in the crowd stuck around for a taste.
It was an awesome class, even despite the constant complaining of the people next to us that Viet was “adding too much salt” or “too much butter.” My wife even heard them say, “I know one thing this class is teaching me: too stay home and cook more.” Oh well, maybe they should lock themselves in their house and eat applesauce…wait, that probably has too much sugar, what’s something more bland than applesauce?
(This post was written by guest blogger Mike H. Mike writes for the fantastic SLC blog Foodie From Scratch on all things gustatory – from exploring local restaurants, through to delicious recipes and more).
Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli
314 W. 300 S. Salt Lake City, Utah