Who needs sous-vide?

You might remember my sous-vide experiments from some time ago. Experiments which did not really fail, but which weren’t exactly a success either. I was and still am lacking both a vacuum sealer and an adequate water bath, so sous-vide cooking is quite a technical challenge for me.

Well, there are two ways of coping with that issue. First, spending a lot of money to purchase expensive kitchen equipment. Or second, finding a different cooking method which yields comparable results. I decided for the latter.

When you boil sous-vide cooking down to its essentials, it is all about temperature. If you want your steak to have 55 °C, then cook it at 55 °C. That’s all.

And so I came to oven-poaching. Right now, most pieces of meat which are cooked in my kitchen, go through my oven at 50-70 °C. That’s quite a good compromise, although there are of course some cons to this method:

1. The thermostat of most ovens works rather imprecise at low temperatures.
2. Cooking in the oven takes longer than cooking in the water bath, since water conducts heat much faster.
3. As the food is not vacuum-sealed, fluid loss is probably higher.

But if you accept these minor drawbacks, than oven-poaching is your thing. If you want to add roasted flavors, sear the meat for a few seconds afterwards – just like you would do after sous-vide cooking.

Oven-poached salmon with sautéed porcini and rosemary froth

Serves 2:
500 g salmon fillet
200 ml milk
2 rosemary sprigs
300 g porcini
1-2 shallots
1-2 garlic cloves
2 tblsp. oil
1 tblsp. butter
1 lemon
1 handful parsley leaves

Cut the salmon fillet into nice pieces, rub with 3/4 tsp. salt, and let rest for 2-3 hours. Then cook for 20 minutes in the oven at 50 °C.

In a small skillet, heat the milk to 50 °C. Remove from the stove, add the rosemary sprigs and a pinch of salt. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Clean the porcini, cut them into pieces if necessary. Peel and dice shallots and garlic. Chop the parsley leaves. Heat the oil in a frying pan, sauté the porcini over maximum heat for 1-2 minutes. Lower the heat, add butter, shallots, and garlic, continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, grate some lemon zest over the porcini, sprinkle with some lemon juice, and finally stir in the parsley.

Remove the rosemary from the milk, heat the milk again to 50 °C. With a hand blender, froth the milk.

Assemble salmon, porcini, and some of the rosemary froth.


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