We keep hearing about it. Celebrity chefs are embracing it. The New York Times has written multiple articles about it. Even Starbucks has joined the trend. It’s sous vide.
But just what the heck is it? For those of you not yet versed in the magic of sous vide, let Professor Plastics briefly explain. Simply put, the sous vide cooking method heats foods “under vacuum” (yup, it’s French) in a water bath at much lower temperatures than normal cooking requires. No browning, no boiling, no burning. And little possibility of overcooking. The results can be sublime. Meltingly tender short ribs. Perfectly flaky fish infused with herbs. Veggies transformed into mouthwatering… well, you get the idea.
And being Professor Plastics, here’s my favorite part: plastics help make sous vide possible. Before immersing your chuck roast or spring vegetable medley into the water bath, you simply insert it into a plastic vacuum bag or zipper bag to remove most air and prevent contact with the water. Then the sous vide device (typically) attaches to the inside of your cooking pot and gently heats the water, usually to the mid 100 degrees Fahrenheit range, for a specified period of time.
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