Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sea bass and sea bream sous-vide (and what to do with leftovers)

In the last year i have been exploring ways to cook food in the healthiest (and yet tasty!!!) possible way. When you have a great piece of bio-farm grown lamb meat or a very fresh fish, or again beautiful asparagus or carrots, the last thing you want to do is to spoil it all by overcooking and, in the process, losing all the benefits of such high quality ingredients. One of the tecniques i have been reading about (and then tasting...lucky me!) is the so called sous-vide. "Cooking sous-vide is easier than its fancy name might suggest. You simply seal the ingredients in a plastic bag (you can also use a canning jar) and place them in a water bath, a combi oven, or any other cooker that can set and hold a target temperature to within a degree or two. When the food reaches your target temperature or time, you take it out, give it a quick sear or other finish, and serve it. That’s it." So Modernist Cuisine describes it.
The truth is that meat, fish, vegetables taste like never before... The structure of the meat has a tenderness which is impossible to achieve with traditional ways of cooking, the flavor is full and sharp. Vegetables are tender but yet crunchy. And the fish preserves a moisture which keeps the meat juicy and delicious.
So i finally got myself the Sous-Vide Supreme and, when we invited over some of our best friends for the first spring BBQ, i got, among other things, some very fresh sea bream and sea bass and i took the chance to get started on some sous-vide cooking.


Sea bream from sustainable sources about 900 g

Sea bass from sustainable sources  about  900 g

1 bio lemon

0,1 lt extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of Maldon smoked sea salt flakes

a pinch of fresh ground red, white and green pepper

 fresh rosemary

fresh sage

fresh oregano

fresh thyme

fresh mint

one clove of garlic


In a mixer put the olive oil, the freshly ground pepper, the juice of half lemon, a garlic clove and 1/2 cl of water and pulse to create an emulsion. Pour it in a form to create ice cubes and put it in the freezer.
Clean the fish properly, removing stomach and washing it under cold running water.
Pat to dry with kitchen paper and stuff the belly of the fish with all the herbs.
Bring the temperature of the Sous-Vide Supreme to 60 degrees.
Place the fish in the plastic bag, add the emulsion ice cubes and vacuum and seal it.
Place it in the Sous-Vide Supreme for 24/25 minutes.
In the meantime bring the temperature of the oven to 190 degrees and prepare a tray with baking paper on.
Toss a bit of salt on the baking paper and keep some more on the side.
When the time's up, remove the fish from the Sous-Vide Supreme, open carefully the bags and place them onto the tray, adding the juices which are left in the bag.
Sprinkle with salt and put it in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 minute, just enough to make the skin of the fish crispy and easy to remove.
Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

TIP! What to do with leftovers:

It happens, when you organize a BBQ with friends, to get carried on and cook too much food. This time around we had some sea bream left and it would have been a real crime to throw it away, so i cleaned carefully the fish, removing all the bones, i put the flesh in a mixer with a dizzle of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, couple of teaspoons of soy milk and couple of teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and pulse to create a creamy spread. It can be kept in the fridge (in a canning jar) for up to 72 hours, making sure that the spread is covered with oil. Serve adding few leaves of fresh mint to spark up the flavor.

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