A Supposedly Fun Thing: Sous Vide Edition

Marinated flank steak cooked "ghetto sous vide" à la David Chang's recipe. Served with a purée of kimchi, quick-pickled cucumbers, and ginger scallion noodles with snow peas, enoki and beech mushrooms, and julienne of radishes and daikon. The kimchi is from Nippan Daido.

Marinated flank steak cooked “ghetto sous vide” à la David Chang’s recipe. Served with a purée of kimchi, quick-pickled cucumbers, and ginger scallion noodles with snow peas, enoki and beech mushrooms, and julienne of radishes and daikon. The kimchi is from Nippan Daido.

This blog is not very linear, and it doesn’t have a cohesive pattern, which I guess I could just claim as contemporary from a literary standpoint and be fine with it. So, here is a meal I made a few weeks ago, and I have (almost) nothing to say about poetry in this post.

It turns out Holly and I have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. Well, I knew we had it, but I’d just forgotten about it. It’s been hanging out with the rest of the gadgets in the museum of good intentions that occupies the backs of our cupboards. What got me thinking about it was all of the bacon dashi I’ve been making and all the bacon dashi going to waste because I’m not using it every day in order to not waste it. I occasionally buy vacuum sealed ice cubes of demi-glace from a local market (the ever-incredible Revival Market), and I was thinking I wish I could do that. Then, I remembered I could. IMG_2517

Messing around with the FoodSaver led me back to David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook and a recipe I’d seen in there for what he called a “ghetto sous vide” method of cooking marinated hanger steak. I didn’t want to ruin an expensive cut of meat for my experiment or go track down hanger steak, so I settled on a flank steak, a cut that can benefit from a little marinating. I did stick to Chang’s marinade recipe, though. The Momofuku cookbook recommends using a high-quality plastic bag and straw to remove the excess air. I used the vacuum sealer, precariously removing the air while not letting the liquid get out. It was a messy, frustrating, and time-consuming process, even if eventually successful. I’m thinking a straw and a Ziploc bag would have been the way to go. Here’s how it went down:

Flank steak in marinade ready to be experimented on.

Flank steak in marinade ready to be experimented on.

I'm a poet, and poets are know to abuse science, and from what I understand, sous vide cooking is all about science, like thermodynamics. Or so Google tells me. The method suggested in the cookbook is to use a deep enough pot, keep the water temperature constant (125 °F) through constant monitoring and adjusting with running hot tap water, and using an instant read thermometer. The danger with this method is cool spots. I'd be more scared with chicken, but a rare-ish good quality steak doesn't freak me out. Besides, you finish this steak on the grill or stove.

I’m a poet, and poets are known to abuse science, and from what I understand, sous vide cooking is all about science, like thermodynamics. Or so Google tells me. The method suggested in the cookbook is to use a deep enough pot, keep the water temperature constant (125 °F) through constant monitoring and adjusting with running hot tap water, and using an instant read thermometer. The danger with this method is cool spots. I’d be more scared with chicken, but a rare-ish good quality steak doesn’t freak me out. Besides, you finish this steak on the grill or stove.

After the 45 minutes in the water and cooling in an ice bath, I removed the steak from the marinade and finished it in a grill pan to give it the nice grill marks and char taste.

After the 45 minutes in the water and cooling in an ice bath, I removed the steak from the marinade and finished it in a grill pan to give it the nice grill marks and char taste.

I seasoned the finished steak with a mixture of crushed sea salt, toasted black sesame seeds, and some shichimi togarashi (a Japanese 7-spice blend) I picked up at Nippan Daido.

I seasoned the finished steak with a mixture of crushed sea salt, toasted black sesame seeds, and some shichimi togarashi (a Japanese 7-spice blend) I picked up at Nippan Daido. The result was good, but this was a lot of work. Someday, I’d like to try an actual sous vide cooker.

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