Sous vide (soo-VEED) is French for “under vacuum”. In culinary terms it is a technique whereby fish or meat is vacuum sealed (cryovaced) and cooked at a low, controlled temperature in a water bath.
The resulting dish is moist, tender and full of flavour. This is largely due to the fact it retains the juices that would normally evaporate into the air as the dish cooks. When a meat is cooked sous vide the juices stay in the bag while the meat is cooking.
Recently touted by many great chefs around the globe, from Thomas Keller to Joel Robuchon, sous-vide has found a home in some of the world’s best restaurants. However, it’s by no means a new concept.
Cryovac has been in use for over 50 years, predominantly employed as a method to preserve food. In the1970s, Georges Pralus took the concept a step further and created sous vide as a cooking method. He was working at the French Restaurant Triosgros and was experimenting with ways to cook foie gras without losing its shape or fat content.
Sous vide dishes are often finished in a frying pan, to provide a little colour to the protein.
For those interested in learning more, Thomas Keller has written a book on the subject. Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide is available on Amazon.