Slower-than-Slow Cooking

My article about sous vide cooking (poaching in plastic cryovac bags) came out today in the Minneapolis StarTribune. The recipes I developed for it (artichokes with prosciutto vinaigrette, above, tender chicken in toasted hazelnut oil and toffeed pears in-a-jar) turned out pretty well. I think they give due props to this awesome method which encourages fruits and vegetables to give up their strongest, most private flavor compounds and meat to collapse to spoon-tenderness.

I haven’t cooked with sous vide in a few years, but working on this story reminded me why I should return to it now and then. Cooking in plastic bags sounds weird, but it’s the equivalent of turning it up to 11, and doing it at home feels totally rock-star. I’m thinking now of what I can pick in the garden this summer and throw in a bag: fresh shell beans and cippollini onions, and plums from front yard with honey, and maybe spring chicken in cream … num.

Check it out, and then get a food saver and play away. (I LOVE mine, maybe too much, and have cryovacked everything loose in the kitchen: wild rice, beans, loose cinnamon sticks … it all looks so neat and compact.)

P.S. the artichokes can easily be made vegetarian. In fact, in the summertime I’d probably go this route. Just omit the bacon and prosciutto and add finely chopped black (nicoise!) olives to the final sauce.

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