View Full Version : Cooking Fish sous vide pre-service

05-18-2013, 09:12 PM
I don't have too much sous vide experience... I use it mainly for poaching sausages, lobsters, eggs, carrots, potatoes, etc. I want to do a poached fish in like a supreme or bercy sauce in a ziplock. How have you experienced cooks done this? I want to do fluke paupiettes and warm them up for service instead of cooking them from raw during service.

What are some other good items you've done where you cook the item preservice then just heat it up? Braised cut are obvious...

05-19-2013, 02:30 AM
pm me. I can help you out a bit when I have time to write something.

05-19-2013, 02:53 AM
I'm a little concerned that you cook en sous vide using zip lock bags in a professional environment...
Also, unless you plan to strain the bercy from each bag upon pick up, reduce a bit more than mount with butter to finish, I wouldn't bother with adding the bercy In the bag before cooking. Even after a proper brine the fish will still exude a bit of albumin which can dirty up your sauce a bit, and you will also loose a bit (even if just a tiny bit) of water from the protein during the cooking process which will thin out your bercy.
But I'm digging the fact that your using bercy, don't see that too often any more!

05-19-2013, 11:13 AM
I use zip locks because I'm actually just cooking in a circulator, not real 'sous vide' as in cryovac. For instance, I was doing a olive oil poached halibut last year where I would put the preseasoned fish in the bag with olive oil pre service, then drop the bag on the order-in and it would take around 12 minutes which was usually right in time for the pickup. Works great... but what if I want to do an app like this? I can't have an app that is a 12 minute pickup...

05-19-2013, 11:32 AM
Fish proteins overcook at so low temps and so rapidly, that what would be the reason to reheat the fish? = You will not raise flesh' temp significantly before serving anyway.
You will not be able to gain anything and most propably cooking time will be almost equal to reheating time anyway.

Or am I missing something?

05-19-2013, 11:36 AM
Just a nit to pick, but "en sous vide" is a crime against language. I know some famous chefs who want to sound extra sophisticated have used this phraseology in their books, but it translates into "in under vacuum," which is clearly a ridiculous way of saying things. It's just wrong and should be banished from speech. ;)

As to the original question, it really comes down to the temperature at which you cook the fish originally, and therefore the time in the bath. If the temp is too low, and thus the fish in a long time, the texture can go pretty wrong unless you are looking at a particularly firm fleshed fish -- fluke is not one. By increasing the minimum thickness of the fish in making it into paupiettes you are increasing the bath time. You can adjust your timing by increasing temp so as to make the time to pickup less, but if you do so you are taking the fish out in a steeper part of the heat curve, so timing becomes more important.

I agree with marc that making an integral sauce from the bag isn't particularly efficient. The increase in flavor in the sauce from what is exuded by the fish is minimal, perhaps zero. You can flavor the fish itself by adding a fat flavored with mushroom and shallots in order to mimic the traditional interchange of flavors. It would add a little cost, but not much.

05-19-2013, 11:40 AM
That was mentioned before but there are still people here who could swear pressure in the bag is different from atmospheric. Oh well.

Just a nit to pick, what is a paupiette?

Same same but different.

05-19-2013, 12:10 PM
En sous vide, in sous vide, blah blah. I'll try to speak American more. (Note-I do Not speak French. At all. But wish I could!)
If one were to translate many languages to exact English it just wouldn't make sense, in English. That's just how it goes.
I learned the ins and outs of cooking sous vide from these two gents several years ago-


When they said and write "en sous vide", I said "in sous vide" which to them I'm sure just sounded like a butchered French accent.
But you're right, en sous vide does sound pretentious. But we digress.

Seeing talk of "poaching" fish in xvo via sous vide reminded me of a question I had for those 2 guys above. I had asked them something about doing this and Bruno belted in a thunderous thick layered French accent of a voice that it "is Crap!" Chef Michel just laughed. I think he had heard that response before. And to prove how "crappy" it was, Bruno took some salmon and dumped a Bunch (overkill) of some Very Fine xvo into the bag, sealed and cooked it. While we waited I mentioned to them both that I dislike salmon. Two blank stares is what I received in return. When the fish was cooked, we opened the bag, drained it and tasted it. I told them that it was the best salmon I'd have ever tasted. They both just laughed.
My point being (and their point too) is that the delicate flavors, or even stronger ones like salmon can be completely lost by the xvo when cooking sous vide. But like I also said, that salmon tasted brilliant! And way different than classic xvo poached salmon. So this would be just another shade of my hypocrisy- though I always say keep the flavors simple and clean, ie salmon taste like salmon, I loved that xvo fish and have done it a couple times since.

05-19-2013, 12:37 PM
I don't mean to direct my ire at "en sous vide" at you. I generally have heard it from people who think that each additional French word is additional sophistication! You didn't come off that way, it just grates. My apologies.

05-19-2013, 01:07 PM
Oh crap! No apologies needed! In fact, I 100% agree with you on this topic. Fancy sounding people just need to Cook

05-19-2013, 01:42 PM
pm me. I can help you out a bit when I have time to write something.

Can you share it here? I'd love to hear this also.

05-19-2013, 03:31 PM
For salmon and halibut, I've always brined the fish in a 10-1 ratio of water to salt for about 15 minutes, then let them hang in the walk in on a roasting rack in front of the fan for a while if possible. This prevents the albumen from seeping out to the surface making that scummy white stuff all over your fish. Then vac it with whatever you like (sans salt) and poach at 140 for about 13 minutes (6.5 oz block portion) rest for 5 minutes, then ice bath till chilled. During service simply drop pack in the bath immediately upon order in until the check is fired. Cut the bag and serve. For some guests we also slightly broil under the salamander at the last second because, "It wasn't hot" Okay grandma, no problem.

05-19-2013, 04:19 PM
^^ You need the brine otherwise it isnt pretty. Like he said.

05-19-2013, 09:15 PM
@marc4pt0 -- I heard rumors Richard might be moving into the Gilt space in nyc... is this true?

05-23-2013, 04:42 PM
i hate actual cooking in sous vide! but reheat something that's been braised ok.

05-23-2013, 05:10 PM
i hate actual cooking in sous vide! but reheat something that's been braised ok.


05-23-2013, 06:07 PM
end up with funny textures.

Von blewitt
05-23-2013, 06:21 PM
end up with funny textures.

Then you're doing it wrong :)

05-23-2013, 06:38 PM
i just don't enjoy the results. do LOVE sous vide eggs and carrots however.

06-02-2013, 07:45 PM
@marc4pt0 -- I heard rumors Richard might be moving into the Gilt space in nyc... is this true?

Wow, I had no idea Gilt closed. I had the best meal of my life (and that's saying something) there in 2009.