We need to talk sous vide here. I am usually not a kitchen gadget person. You know why? Because that means more shi* is going to clog up my kitchen counters and cabinets. Like I've mentioned before (and you can probably tell just in my food pictures alone), I like space. I don't like everything to be filled. BUT, when Chris's aunt and uncle got us an Anova precision cooker/ sous vide machine for Christmas this year, it changed everything.
I. Love. Sous vide.
The way the machine and process work is that you set the temperature on the machine and insert it into a vessel with water. You seal whatever you want to cook (veggies, meat, scallops) in a ziplock bag and the machine circulates the water and keeps the temperature consistent until the food is done. Not only is the sous vide precision cooker relatively small (think large immersion blender) but you can use basically ANYTHING as the vessel to cook in. Like you can fill up a cooler and cook an entire hunk of meat for a party. Or you could use a small pot. It doesn't matter. AND THEN there's the whole fact that you can set it to the fraction of a degree. CONSISTENT RESULTS GUYS.
Which brings me to my next point: I hate my oven with fiery passion and I do not understand why ovens are not more standardized. The oven I'm using is the oven that came with our house (it is a POS) and we have no intentions of upgrading it until the kitchen renovation is complete. So this is my craptastic oven for many more months. Anyway, we bought a thermometer to keep in the oven to truly gauge temps. And you know what? Our oven is consistently off by about 30 degrees. But sometimes it's not. But many times it is. Which means it's just playing mind games with me and when I want to bake something I can't be like "You know what? I'm going to fool my oven and change this recipe to suit MY demon oven." because then the demon oven will work like it should at the temperature I actually set and incinerate whatever is on the baking sheet.
Okay, so again, back to the sous vide...you need this machine if you want to cook protein. While I was a pescatarian for many years, about a year or two ago I went back to full omnivore. With specific love of medium steak. That being said, I am incredibly particular about how I like my steak. I will pass on steak if it's overcooked. Just like...why eat it? It's not worth the calories. I want it perfect. And to me that means I want it cooked medium. And you would think restaurants would know what medium steak is, but they don't (it seems like every plate ends up 'well done'). Because of that, the husband started cooking me steaks at home so we could actually get what we wanted and he is THE KING of steak. He's done his research with one of our favorite books, Food Lab, and has figured out the true science behind perfect steak. But then again, sometimes again, our burners (electric attached to that GD demon oven) just are not consistent. And hence, neither is the steak.
The sous vide machine cooks it to the fraction of a degree and then you can sear it or blow torch it to get the perfect outside crisp with the perfect inside temp. If you watch videos on how other people are using this machine, you can see how people will cook a protein or veggie or whatever for a party, set it aside or store it and then right when everyone is ready to eat, they just sear it and finish it off. You actually get to hang with your guests! No more manning the grill for hours!!!
Our first foray into sous vide was scallops. Basically every scallop I've ever had is tough and chewy and rubbery. These were like butter. Like, we were honestly questioning if they were cooked since they cut so beautifully (They were I swear). After cooking them sous vide, the husband seared them in a cast iron skillet with a bit of butter to get the tops .
Sous Vide Sea Scallops with Beet Mayo and Dill
/// Ingredients ///
- 6 scallops (side muscle removed)
- 1T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T butter
- 1 large beet, peeled and roasted
- 2 garlic cloves (roast with beets - splash a little oil on them)
- 1/4 c. mayo
- 1-2 squeezes of lemon juice
- lemon zest
- dill fronds
- baby arugula
/// Directions /// Use a large vessel and fill with water. Turn on the Anova precision cooker and set to 122 F. When the water comes to temperature, add scallops, salt and pepper and olive oil to a ziplock bag in a single layer. Seal the bag and remove the air bubbles by dropping the bag into the water, mostly zipped and then sealing the top as the air is pushed out (or you can use a vacuum). We clothes pin the bag to the side of a large stockpot for the cooking duration. Cook at 122 F for 30 minutes. Remove from the water vessel when the 30 minutes is up.
While the scallops are cooking, roast beets and garlic in the oven. Chop and roast beet and garlic and add to an immersion blender cup or food processor (note, you may need more beets to 'fill' a food processor to get it to work). Add mayo and lemon juice and blend.
When the scallops are done, heat a cast iron skillet with butter and cook both sides of the scallop for 40 seconds to 1 minute each. Plate beet mayo, scallops and arugula. Top with dill fronds, and lemon zest.
Thanks for sticking with me through this LONG post! You guys know when I recommend a product I'm pretty darn serious so I wanted to explain WHY this kitchen tool is worth your space and time. Let me know if you've ever used this kitchen tool and what your favorite recipes are!
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.