For circulators, the restaurant uses 20-gallon Lexan tubs, which
are wrapped in plastic wrap to speed getting up to temperature,
filled with water and plugged in. Once the circulator is at the
correct temperature, the meat is added, making sure all the protein
is submerged in water. Usually, Huston weighs down the cryovac
bags with a rack.
When loading a circulator, he makes sure there’s enough room in the
tub so water can flow. “If not, there will be a hotter temperature near
the circulator [unit] than away from it. The bigger the container, the
better luck you’ll have. You can’t pack them in.”
Chefs tend to steer away from using the sous-vide process in
cooking fish, but Edward Leonard, CMC, WGMC, AAC, vice
president/corporate chef for Le Cordon Bleu Schools North
America, has used the process to prepare lobster for banquets.
“I’d quickly blanch whole lobsters in boiling water or bouillon
for two or three minutes, remove the still-raw tail meat from the
shell, and place the meat in a bag with butter, vanilla and olive
oil,” he says. “Next, I’d put all the unsealed bags into a ( 38°F)
cold room. One hour before service, I’d seal the bags and place
them in the steam table (160-170°F) for about 8½ minutes. Then
I’d cut open the bags and serve immediately. It ate like butter, and
there was no time for it to be in any danger zone.”
Leonard points out that doing sous vide isn’t about being cool,
but, rather, about the storage of meat to hold longer. “If I had
150 guests, poaching lobster tails was a challenge, but we had
an excellent chart with all the timings. So the benefits were, one,
consistency, two, a better product, plus three, financial, since
there was little or no waste.”
Goussault says: “Sous vide is a fantastic technology that is at the
early stage of development. It gives chefs an ability to organize
their kitchen in an efficient and safe way while delivering the best
and most consistent cooking you could ever have dreamed of.”
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