Sous Vide: The Ultimate Un-Barbeque

It is nearly upon us: the May 2-4 weekend. For many that means opening up the cottage, planting gardens, and for most, busting out the barbeque.

There is something so inherently festive about the barbeque. The camaraderie, the community, and not to mention the fantastic food; from the first sizzle to the last smoke, the barbeque offers an experience. But if the weather refuses to cooperate or you don’t own a barbeque, there’s perhaps no better time of year to explore the un-barbecue, of sorts – the sous vide method.

Nothing says un-barbecue better than vacuum packing your food, submerging it in a temperature-controlled water bath and letting it simmer; the experience is entirely hands off, sans smell, and sans context.

But wait – it’s not all that austere.

Once only in the realm of high-end, almost magician-like chefs, the sous vide has broken the barriers of perceived gourmet cooking to become a new household item – a slow cooker 2.0 if you will.

Unsure about the process? Here is a breakdown.

The sous vide method uses a constant, steady, and controllable temperature to perfectly cook an item of food in a water bath. The water bath is heated to a precise temperature and the food, vacuum-sealed in food-safe bags, is submerged and cooked for a set period of time. The food will not over cook as the water bath will never exceed the prescribed temperature.

What is amazing about the sous vide is that it is almost entirely hands off and nearly foolproof. Just set it and forget it.

The sous vide method allows not only for impeccable temperature control, but also for the robust infusion of flavour. The vacuum-sealed bag helps to accentuate the intended flavours, and the typically longer cooking time helps in the infusion process.

The only downfall of this method is that it necessitates the addition of a few new items to your culinary repertoire, most notably a sous vide or immersion circulator and a vacuum sealer, easily sourced online. However, a vacuum sealer is a godsend to most kitchens. It facilitates perfect storage for freezer or fridge and makes itself a conduit for perfect sous vide cooking.

Wondering what to make with the sous vide method? Really anything. However, it lends itself particularly well to tougher, cheaper cuts of meat as the lengthened cooking time and controlled cooking temperature ensure masterfully rendered fat. Vegetables also benefit particularly well from the temperature precision, retaining nutrients, colour, texture, and taste.

This Victoria Day long weekend, be a rebel and shirk the barbecue with this tasty, simple side dish!

Ingredients

1 bunch of radishes

2 tablespoons of butter, divided

1 teaspoon of Maldon salt, divided

Method

Set your sous vide to 180F

Thoroughly wash the radishes and slice each in half

In a vacuum bag, evenly layer the radishes, half of the butter and half of the salt

Vacuum seal the bag and submerge in the heated water bath

Cook for 45 minutes

Remove from the water and drain

Serve with remaining butter and salt