First Stabs at Sous Vide

2014.Jul.30 Wednesday · 7 comments

in Food & Recipes

It seems like forever ago that I first heard about this ingenious, inexpensive sous vide circulator that was being touted based solely on a Kickstarter presentation (it was actually just over two years ago). Whether it would ever happen, whether enough people would be interested, was up in the air, though given the general fascination with modernist cooking, I didn’t have many doubts that there’s be enough interest – the question was whether it would ever be produced. The product was called the Nomiku, and as predicted, the Kickstarter campaign garnered them sufficient to get started, in fact, over half a million dollars. But, like any new product, there were delays, and red tape, and some of us began to get frustrated. Still, the folk at the company were great about keeping in touch with regular updates. And, finally, the units were shipped – though those for us on 240v took a bit longer. I finally picked mine up in NYC during this vacation – I could have had it shipped here, but given the timing and how difficult it can be to get packages delivered here, I decided to have it shipped there and nab it.


So, not a great photo, but it’s the first one I snapped, so I’m going with it – here it is in my big stockpot, heating up the water for my first experiments. I promise not to go all sous vide crazy on you over the coming months, but it’s definitely an interesting tool. It allows me to free up a burner and also to have some things “done” ahead of time rather than cooking them in the moment. (Yes, I know, it’s sitting on a burner, but it doesn’t have to be, it was just a convenient spot to set the pot.) So, a trio of things I’ve experimented with so far:

Onsen eggs
Onsen eggs

I love what are usually called “Onsen eggs” – they have whites that are just barely set and yolks that take on this soft fudge like consistency. And, these turned out perfectly, seasoned with just a little grind of pepper and some smoked salt. Lunch with a green salad.

sous vide Moroccan cauliflower
Moroccan cauliflower and smoked lomo sandwich

Next up, a little vegetable play, and a sort of “Moroccan” cauliflower – perfectly “crisp tender” as it’s sometimes described – cauliflower with olives, spices, a little olive oil. All by itself, dinner one night since I’ve been back (I’m both trying not to spend much as well as take off a few pounds. Surprisingly, I didn’t gain any weight on this vacation – in truth, we ate well, didn’t overdo it, and walked a lot (and, other than these dishes, the only things I’ve eaten are yogurt, coffee, and green salad since I got back). I had a few florets leftover from dinner, so next day blitzed them up in the food processor to a spread, put that on some fresh black olive bread from L’Epi, and topped it with some smoked pork loin slices.

Sous vide steak au poivre

And, we had to get to some meat, after all, that’s pretty much what everyone talks about when it comes to sous vide stuff. So, a single serve of bife de chorizo and play at reinterpreting a steak au poivre. Coated the steak in salt, freshly ground black and white peppercorns and a little allspice. Sous vide for four hours at 55°C, which various sites claimed would come out a perfect medium rare. Personally I think it was a little closer to medium, so I might turn it down a degree on a next round. When it came out, gave it another little coating of peppercorns and then a quick sear in olive oil and butter to give it that slightly crunchy crust. Served with lemon and thyme roast potatoes, a roasted mushroom puree, shaved brussels sprouts tossed with a little red wine vinegar and salt, a cognac and red wine vinegar fluid gel, and some blue cheese “snow”. How’s that for going all modernist on you?

I liked it a lot – though I’d probably go for some more texture and make the potatoes more of a crunchy roast potato or a rösti, plus the lemon was a slightly too strong note for the dish. The mushroom puree is amazing in flavor, but jeez when you look at it it looks like, well, poop from a dog that’s having digestive problems – I think I’d probably pipe it in blobs instead of spread out on the plate if I did it again, the way I did with the fluid gel. And I think I might just shave the brussels sprouts over the dish without tossing them with anything, give it a little more freshness.

For those who haven’t seen the announcement on our various social media spots, we’re going back into swing with our online cooking “competition” tonight – come join us either to chat or cook (we’d really love to have some more cooks). You can see details of our first two sessions here and here. Tonight’s ingredients for the challenge are to come up with a dish using: fish roe (of any sort), potatoes (likewise), paprika (sweet, hot, or smoked), and lemons (I suppose a choice of type is in order here too if you have access to more than one type). Come get creative!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Miles August 12, 2014 at 17:40

Hi Dan,

What are you using to seal the ingredients in? Are you going the full suck out the air the seal route or simply squeeze it out and seal (using a much cheaper contraption)? Also does this Nomiku circulate the water? My mum is coming to visit shortly so I’m thinking of “must have” gadgets she can bring!!!

dan August 13, 2014 at 16:54

For the moment I’m using ziploc bags and using air displacement by submerging them up to just the top and then sealing them. The Nomiku is a sous vide circulator, yes. It works great so far!

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