the basic
sous vide
part one

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There is any amount of information about sous-vide available on the web, however, finding reliable information is almost impossible. Given the cost of everything in 2024 who wants to risk failure…no one, whether you are a professional or home cook wants to have a disaster. For single portions, perfect for a restaurant SOUS-VIDE CUISINE, Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués, [not available in Apple books] English edition published by Montagud Editores remains my go-to. It has become a very expensive book for collectors but in a commercial situation worth every cent. It is not so useful for the domestic cook. In the last two years as much as I would still love to be able to buy hard copies of some of the more technical cookbooks written by reliable authors they are no longer affordable. Under Pressure, Cooking Sous Vide, Thomas Keller & Harold McGee remains super expensive even in Apple Books where it is $114.99 AUD and about $200 AUD for a hard copy. I’d say Under Pressure is a compulsory purchase for a restaurant kitchen using sous vide. I have leaned heavily on it to make brief guide for cooking many proteins by sous vide. It is fair to say that this new guide in cuisine-extreme is meant for the advanced home cook.

Vac machines for the domestic market are now relatively cheap as are sous-vide sticks. The most important thing with sous-vide cooking is hygiene….further reading

In months of bagging and trialling shelf life for Southern Rocklobster Limited in 2008 a lot was learned. Hygiene is important in any kitchen, but, never more so than with sous-vide. It is no small coincidence that world-wide health authorities insist that hand washing can improve the infectious disease rate in a hospital by up to 20%. Testing the vaccing shelf life for Southern Rocklobster, we discovered that green crayfish packed without wearing food service gloves lost up to four days shelf life. Waste is the enemy of the the profit margin for all kitchens, commercial or domestic and one of the benefits of vaccing is the additional shelf life.

Part Two will follow in the coming weeks with many of our own and friends’ recipes and will include some sweet items….much of PART TWO will come directly from our first sous vide class in 2008.



Vacced 400g portion, 100g Beurre Blanc – take out of fridge 1 hour before cooking
Cook at 59.5°C….15 minutes….either serve immediately or rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate

Mackerel [any oily fish]
Vacced 450g portion wrapped in pancetta…EVO, salt and pepper
61*deg;C for 12 minutes….either serve immediately with a splash of balsamic or rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate…good at room temperature, especially with some crunchy green salad.

Snapper or Mulloway
Sadly SA Snapper is still not available in South Australia due to refsistrictions on fising to restore sustainable stocks. Local Mulloway is a good choice but it needs to be firmed up by curing for an hour in basic salt sugar cure and brushed off with a clean cloth…DO NOT WASH OFF.
Vacced 350g enough for two Spread with mustard, butter, salt and pepper, wrap and roll in sterilised muslin [muslin is easily sterilised in the microwave]…chill and vac.
62°C for 11 minutes… rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate….to serve coat in fresh crumbs embellished with parsley, salt and pepper and fry in clarified butter.

Atlantic Salmon and Ocean Trout
Both of these are exquite cooked by the sous vide method, however, we no longer use either as the farm conditions have led to us deeming them inedible.

if you are lucky enough to get some wild caught salmon stay tuned for Sous Vide Part two.

220g block..EVO salt and pepper…I like to do a slightly Asian version…peanut oil, few drops of sesame oil, ginger:garlic
59.5°C 13 minutes rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate….to serve, colour both sides on a very hot grill.

other protein

Chicken Breast
Season two skinless free-range chicken breasts, roll through EVO, wrap each breast in flat pancetta, vac.
62°C 1 hour and 30 minutes….rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate….to serve pan fry in EVO or clarified butter until pancetta is coloured and internally heated through.

Two methods brining and air drying

4 duck breasts, skin removed and saved for a different method to crisp. 50g duck or chicken fat

for the brine
1.5g yellow mustard seeds
1.5g powdered ginger
10 juniper berries
3.5g black peppercorns
1.5g coriander seeds
5g garlic
2g curing salt
1 bay leaf
100g dark brown sugar
100g Olssen’s smoked salt
1kg water

Infuse the aromatics into the water and chill. Brine the duck breast for 3 hours. Remove from the brine, pat dry, stand on a rack and refrigerate for one hour. Vac with the poultry fat.

Cook at 60.5°C for 25 minutes, rest at room temp for 10 minutes, slice and serve or… rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate….to serve quickly pan in poultry fat.

Alternate method
Clean up four duck breasts, brush the meat side with molten poultry fat. Sit, skin side up on a rack in the fridge [by the fan if you have a coolroom] for 2-3 days to dry the skin out. Vac hard.

Cook at 70°C for 20 minutes…rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate….to serve on low heat render the skin until it is crisp, turn and cook the meat side for a a couple of minutes. Rest skin side up for 10 minutes then serve.


Honeycomb Tripe
1 full honeycomb tripe, cleaned up and cut into four
the white of leek, roughly chopped
6 white pepercorns
50g white wine vinegar

Cook at 82°C for 8 hours…rapid chill in an ice bath and refrigerate…use for various dishes…excellent for the Chinese cold trip dish.

Tongue [corned
] This is a stretch when you can buy corned tongue from any good butcher and in a domestic situation finding the space to brine a tongue for 28 days is probably not possible.

1 full beef tongue, cleaned

for the brine
25g soft dark brown sugar
5g curing salt
160g sea salt
5g whole black pepper
6 whole cloves
10 whole allspice
Pinch of celery seeds
4g yellow mustard seeds
5g coriander seeds
2.2kg water

Put everything to the line into a large stainless-steel pot; large enough to hold the entire brine and the tongue. Add about half of the water and place on the heat. Stir long enough to dissolve the sugar, curing salt and sea salt. Remove from the heat add the remaining water and stir to combine. Chill the brine completely before adding the tongue and weighting it under the brine. Refrigerate for 28 days. Before vaccing, using a digital probe thermometer make sure that the tongue is around 3-4 max C internal temperature. Bag the tongue with 500g strained brine [discard rest of brine].

Cook at 70°C for 24 hours…..wearing food service gloves, open the bag straight from the water bath and skin the tongue. Rapid chill the tongue in an ice bath…can be used either cold, thinly sliced in salads or panned in slices about 1cm thick. Excellent with a hot mustard sauce and witlof.

850g Clean up the heart.

for the brine
180g salt
60g curing salt
105g soft dark brown sugar
3kg water

Dissolve the solids in about half of the water. Add the remaining water and chill. Brine the heart for 24 hours. Dry completely and hard vac with 500g duck fat or lard.

Cook at 79.4°C for 24 hours…rapid chill in an ice bath.

Cook’s note
When working as a governess at Mabel Creek station in 1964 my boss Mary Rankin was a fabulous cook and did a brilliant stuffed and roasted ox-heart at low temperature in the Aga. Using the sous vide method to cook and tenderise the heart first works brilliantly. I could imagine a small sheep’s heart would make an excellent restaurant main and am yet to explore….AO


I find that cooking many vegetables by the sous vide method a bit silly. Especially asparagus that can be cooked a la minute in seconds. I do braise witlof, hard vaccing it with butter, salt and pepper….70°C 10 minutes……rapid chill the in an ice bath and reheat in an 80°C bath for fve minutes or to serve immediately, tip into a colander to drain and serve.

Whilst I do not like the imported foie gras, we make an excellent Tournedos Rossini using our brioche toasted and topped with our pâté.

More on vegetables that benefit from the sous vide method of preparation in PART TWO.



part two

Pictured left a 60°C egg, that and much more including ice cream bases…stay tuned!


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