Last week, I debuted Kitchen Tech, a brand new 9to5Toys column designed to help you bring restaurant-quality dining into your own home. We were thrilled with the response to the first column on making magical ice balls for cocktails, so today’s column explores the opposite extreme: heating water in a precisely controlled way to get equally amazing results with vacuum-sealed bags of food.
Some people call this sous vide (soo vee-d, “under vacuum”) cooking; others know it as cooking with an immersion circulator. Quietly used in restaurant kitchens for decades, sous vide cooking started to gain mainstream attention following the release of the avant-garde professional cookbook set Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Author Nathan Myhrvold ranks sous vide gear as the #4 and #5 most important modernist cooking tools in the newer consumer version of the book, Modernist Cuisine at Home, just behind a digital scale, thermometer, and pressure cooker.
In any case, temperature-controlled water baths produce the juiciest, most succulent meats you’ll ever taste, and can perform other magic tricks… like making perfect eggs, just-right vegetables, and rich, creamy sauces. Below, we’ll explain how sous vide cooking works, and show you how to do it at home.