It was barely a week before Christmas when my Sous Vide Supremearrived at the house. With the holiday craziness looming - an impending family trip to DisneyWorld, incoming relatives, Christmas Day dinner, Santa Claus - there were so many other things that should have been on my mind . But I found myself preoccupied with the whereabouts of my UPS delivery man. Where was my Sous Vide Supreme ? What was taking so long? When the long awaited knock finally came at my door, I knew the waiting was over. I wanted to kiss the handsome guy in the brown step van, but I didn't. He gave me my brown box and I retired to the kitchen to see what Santa had brought me (just a little early). What I found you see above. A water oven. Sounds oxymoronic, but I'll go with it. If I was in charge, I think I might have named it The Amazing Perfect Cooking Machine....but whatever. Marketing is not my specialty. So, I began to unpack my water oven and see what was what.
Here you can see the contents of the magic brown box once I had managed to unpack it all. Working left to right - a cooking rack insert for the main Sous Vide Supreme unit, the Sous Vide Supreme, several spice mixes for beef and fish, an instruction book and a user DVD. Since I had been tracking the progress of my SVS across the country on the Internet, I had planned ahead for its arrival. During the morning, I had run out and purchased a couple salmon filets. In the few days I had to spend awaiting the arrival of the SVS, I had noticed that salmon was a favorite dish for beginners. It required relatively little time to cook and supposedly produced delicious results. So, I took a few minutes and perused the user manual and watched the user DVD as well. Feeling confident, I then began to pull my mise en place together and get ready to play with my new toy.
This is a quick shot of all the spice rubs and instructional material that came with the SVS. As you can see, it comes with a Dover Malt for fish, a New Zealand Lamb Rub, a Tangy Cajun rub and a Canadian steak rub, as well as a few spice transfer sheets.
This is just a simple shot of the SVS before I filled it with water to cook the salmon. As you can see, the SVS comes with hand lines to let you know the minimum fill amount and the maximum fill amount. Lucky for me. the SVS fits very nicely in my double bowl sink.
Here is the salmon as I prepared it just before bagging it up for immersion. I've rubbed the filets with kosher salt and the Dover spice mix that was provided with the SVS. I planned to include chives, parsley, and butter in the bags along with the salmon. Since this was before Christmas (when I received my FoodSaver), I was using the Ziploc vacuum bags as enclosures. The Ziploc bags are readily available at most local grocery stores. You can purchase a starter pack which will include the hand pump vacuum as well as a few quart size bags. Ziploc also offers gallon size bags for larger cuts of meat. The vacuum process is actually very simple. You simple put all your ingredients in the bag, zip tight, apply the hand pump vacuum to the clearly marked circle and pump away until you have evacuated all the air from the bag. At this point, the product is ready for the water bath.
This is the salmon bagged up and ready to go. After playing with the SVS for a few weeks now, this is a sight you will get familiar with quickly. Meat and seasonings in a vacuum bag ready for the water. After their bath, the filets will head for the saute pan for a quick sear. Then they make their last move to the plate. For the salmon, I decided to follow the instruction booklet's suggestions and set the SVS to 140 Fahrenheit. I dropped the bags in and let them go for roughly 50 minutes. After they were done, I removed the filets from the bags and dropped them in a screaming hot saute pan for about 2 minutes to develop a nice crust. Then I simply plated them over some boxed rice and had a completely delicious dinner. My first meal with the SVS was an effortless success. Almost immediately, I began trying to figure out how I would incorporate the SVS into my impending Christmas dinner. Since then, I've done many, many meals on the SVS and I've learned quite a bit. I'll be sharing those wins and losses with you over the next few weeks.