Sous Vide Steak Sunday

WOW! I can’t believe it’s been one year to the day since I’ve blogged here. Life. Tonight I decided I’d like a traditional steakhouse meal of Ribeye, mashed potatoes, and green beans (unfortunately I am out of asparagus). I picked up a really nice ribeye the other day, from Carolina Fish Market, who have recently started stocking Meats by Linz. The best way to cook a steak? Sous vide, of course. It gives you the perfect cook – every time – from edge to edge. Also, you can just drop it in it’s little bath and leave it alone for a while. You can learn more about sous vide cooking on the Sansaire site.

Let’s get started.

I like my steak rare, so I set my Sansaire to warm the water bath to 122 deg. F. (Depending on how you like your steak done, you can refer to the Sansaire guide for cooking steak.) While waiting for the water to heat up, I seasoned my steak. I’m a big fan of lots of freshly ground black pepper, as it makes a very nice crust when you sear it. I used ground black pepper, pink Himalayan salt, and a shot of Hudson Bay Beef Spice from Savory Spices – my favorite spice store.

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After seasoning, it needs to go into a waterproof bag with the air removed. I used my Food Saver machine, but you can also use a Zip-lock bag if you don’t have a sealer. Before sealing, I added about two tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil. Sealed it up and it was ready for the bath.

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I dropped it into the 122 deg. F water and let it go for 90 minutes. Because the Sansaire keeps the water at the perfect temperature, you can leave it there for up to four hours without worrying about overcooking.

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In preparation for it leaving the bath, heat a skillet on high. You can also create your sear on the grill, a cast iron skillet, or by using a searing torch. Your standard kitchen torch for creme brulee will not cut it here – you need one much stronger. I have yet to order one, so for me tonight it’s an All-Clad Copper Core pan.

I heated my pan on high, and when it was hot, added a tablespoon of butter. Keep that butter moving so it doesn’t brown. When the bubbles start to settle down, add the steak. I continuously keep mine moving in a circle around the pan, so it doesn’t burn and keeps moving the butter/juices around. After about a minute, check the sear and flip the steak if it suits you. Same thing on the other side, and then plate it. There is no need to rest a steak when cooked via sous vide.

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Now I know you are all thinking, ‘Let’s see the inside! Show me that edge to edge perfectly cooked steak.’ Here you go, plated with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and French green beans; freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes. Happy sous viding! 🙂

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European Dover Sole Meuniѐre

The first and only time I had Dover Sole, it was, for lack of a better word, magnificent. Sautéed to a golden brown, served with a lush and decadent butter sauce, accented with capers and lemon. Definitely not an everyday meal, to be enjoyed for a special occasion.

The very best European Dover Sole comes from Holland, and is not often found in the US. It should not be confused with Pacific Dover sole, which is not a true sole and is related more closely to flounder. Clean Catch advertised they had fourteen of these special European fish fresh out of the water in Holland and on the way via overnight this week, with the description:

‘The flesh has an exceptional density, with tightly packed flakes that are amazingly juicy. Their aroma when cooked will remind you of savory bacon, and the flavor has a hazelnut sweetness you won’t find in any other fish. There is a buttery richness on the mouth, with an ocean flavor that dissipates slowly with each bite. Dover sole is an indulgence, an experience one you will not experience with any other fish.’

I decided to indulge.

Where to start. The most prominent chef to profess her love for this special fish was Julia Child. In My Life in France, she wrote that eating Sole Meuniѐre on her arrival in France was ‘an epiphany’. I pulled out my copy of Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but much to my dismay Sole Meuniѐre was not included. A Bing search yielded her recipe from The Way to Cook; I tweaked it a bit to my liking. In this recipe, I use cilantro instead of parsley, sauté the fish in butter-infused olive oil, and add lemon and cilantro directly to the butter sauce.

1 European Dover Sole, filleted, skinned, with head removed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons organic butter-infused olive oil (or other high quality olive oil)
4 tablespoons of clarified butter
Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons capers
Juice of ½ lemon
Lemon wedges and cilantro

Layout and pat dry the fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in a light coating of flour, brushing off excess with your fingers.

Heat the clarified butter slowly on low-medium heat in a small saucepan.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil heats up, place filets in the pan, without overcrowding, about 3 to 4 to a skillet. Brown on one side about 1 to 2 minutes, and carefully flip over to brown the other side.

While the fish is finishing browning, add the capers and lemon to the butter. Be aware that these have a pretty violent reaction, and will spatter. Cover with foil if you like until the reaction stops. Add the chopped cilantro and stir gently.

Remove fish to a platter. Spoon the lemon-caper butter sauce over fish. Garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro. Serve immediately.

C’est magnifique! 🙂

European Dover Sole Meuniere

Pickled Shrimp

Although sadly my Patriots did not make it to the Super Bowl this year, the Seahawks did and that’s definitely a great reason for a celebration! Looking for an easy appetizer for our Super Bowl celebration, I decided on Pickled Shrimp. Make it the night before, and quick to be on the table on game day. 🙂

I use 16/20 shrimp in this recipe, but you’re free to use whatever size you prefer. If you’re packing to someone else’s party, this would look great in a mason jar! Makes 1 quart.

Pickled Shrimp

8 1/3 cups of water
Kosher salt
2 lbs 16/20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup high quality olive oil
2 cups cider vinegar
8 bay leaves
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped in large chunks
1 lemon, thinly sliced, remove seeds
1/3 cup capers in brine, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil, and add 6 Tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the shrimp and boil for two minutes, until they are just pink. Drain the shrimp and let cool.

Combine all the remaining ingredients, including the 1/3 cup of water, in a large bowl. Stir and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Taste and add more salt as desired. Add the shrimp and stir, making sure all the shrimp are submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy! 🙂

Tuna au Poivre with Red Wine Sauce

Steak au Poivre used to be one of my favorites when I was still eating red meat. Now that I’m a pescatarian and eat only fish and seafood, I decided to try a twist on the original with yellowfin tuna. It turned out to be a fantastic dish that I’ll definitely go back to, nice presentation for company as well.

Instead of just the standard peppercorn crust, I also added some Chinese Five Spice. I love this spice, it’s a mixture of peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel; and covers five flavors – sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. The flavors pair very well with tuna, and I also use it when making Tuna Tataki.

I served the beautiful cut of yellowfin tuna with garlic mash and French greens as sides.

Yellowfin Tuna

3/4 lb fresh tuna, cut into 2 steaks about 1-inch thick
Salt
Fresh Coarsely Ground Peppercorns
Chinese Five Spice
Olive oil

1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely diced
1 cup red wine
1 cup vegetable broth

Season tuna steaks with salt. Sprinkle both sides with Chinese Five Spice and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and rub to coat evenly. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes; or refrigerate for up to 4 hours and bring to room temperature before cooking.

For the red wine sauce:
Melt butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add vegetable broth and reduce until 1 cup sauce remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, set aside and keep warm.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lay in steaks and sear for 2 minutes, until nicely browned. Flip and cook 1 minute more for rare, 2 minutes for medium rare. Serves 2.

Tuna au Poivre with Red Wine Sauce

Tomato and Bread Soup – Pappa al Pomodoro

Lidia Bastianich is one of my favorite professional chefs, specializing in Italian and Italian-American cuisine; I’ve used a number of her recipes for inspiration. She’s the author of eight cookbooks, five of which are accompanied by a national series on Public Television. Her style of cooking is fresh, authentic Italian; based heavily on family traditions. In an interview, Lidia expressed her opinion on food and family:

‘Food for me was a connecting link to my grandmother, to my childhood, to my past. And what I found out is that for everybody, food is a connector to their roots, to their past in different ways. It gives you security; it gives you a profile of who you are, where you come from.’

The lovely dish I made today, Tomato and Bread Soup, is a bright summer meal; the tomatoes and basil bursting with flavor, and the bread adding a hearty texture. I made this with canned San Marzano tomatoes, but I will definitely try it later in the summer when tomatoes are at peak season. I also left the crusts on the Italian bread, as I like some of the bread to stay in small chunks. If you’d prefer the bread to completely disintegrate, remove the crusts before adding to the soup.

Tomato and Bread Soup

I adapted this recipe from ‘Lidia’s Favorite Recipes’. This is a great cookbook to start with if you don’t have one of her cookbooks and want to try some wonderful Italian dishes.

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
Three 28-oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
Five 1/2 inch thick slices of stale Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 fresh basil leaves, washed
Freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep, heavy pot. Add the diced onion and cook until it starts to wilt, approximately 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl, or with a food mill. If you’re crushing with your hands, be careful – some of them burst with juice when crushed.

Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Add the vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the tomatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add the bread and basil leaves to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Drop the heat so the soup is still simmering, low to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, whisking occasionally to break up the pieces of bread. The soup will be silky and dense after about 40 minutes.

Season the soup to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in warm bowls, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Provide grated parmigiana-reggiano on the side. Enjoy!

Makes about 2 quarts; serves 8.