If you’re the proud owner of a sous vide machine but are looking for more ways to use it than by simply boiling an egg, you’ve come to the right place. Anova sous vide recipe developer Christina Wylie is here to guide you in wielding the appliance at home—without fear or having to parse through complicated scientific jargon.
Sure, sous vide sounds a little complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. The name, which comes from the French meaning “under vacuum,” does just that: sealing food in an airtight container and cooking it in temperature-controlled water. You can tuck just about anything in one of these vacuum-sealed bags—like proteins coated in marinades and herbs—and sink it into a tub of water. By remaining at a constant temperature, the process is pretty gradual, cooking until your desired protein reaches the same temperature as the water. That means you’ll never have to worry about an overcooked slab of meat again.
But back to Christina. Her cookbook “Sous Vide Cooking Made Simple” will be your guiding light for everything sous vide. The book is filled with 70 sous vide recipes, broken up into sections including starters, meat, seafood, breakfast, and even dessert. You’ll learn how to prepare the likes of slow-cooked beef stew, a rack of lamb rubbed with garlic and rosemary, and tuna with olive tapenade.
Sous Vide Cooking Made Simple: Techniques, Ideas and Recipes to Cook at Home, $24.53 on Amazon
Christina devotes plenty of space to the art of sous vide, so even if you’ve never employed the technique you can still feel confident going in. You’ll learn all about appropriate bags and how to close them for sous vide cooking, an overview of times and temperatures, and tips on tackling some of the most popular sous vide dishes, like eggs, steak, and chicken.
Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano, $129 on Amazon
Ahead, a recipe for sous vide butter-poached lobster tails, which is surely one of the best ways to enjoy lobster. Although cooking lobster is often considered a bit of a challenge if you’re not used to working with the finicky seafood, this technique guarantees you won’t have to eat overcooked lobster—a veritable disaster. Instead, you’ll be rewarded with a silky soft tail that’s anything but dry or tough. All you’ll need to do is first cook the lobster tails for two minutes in boiling water, then seal the tails into a vacuum-sealed bag, accompanied by a garlicky butter sauce. The lobster tails will remain in the sous vide water at 133°F for 15 minutes, after which they’ll be promptly removed and topped with more brown butter. It’s an elegant, restaurant-y dish, perfect for date night or anything in between.
© 2020 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Text and photography © 2020 Christina Wylie.
Butter-Poached Lobster Tails Recipe
In defense of those who have overcooked lobster in the past, it’s easy to do using conventional cooking methods. Using sous vide, however, it’s reasonably simple to create the silky, moist, soft lobster of your dreams (okay, that was a bit dramatic, but you may not have ever tasted lobster quite like this). There are many conflicting opinions out there on what temperature is ideal to cook lobster sous vide. After plenty of trial and error, I believe that 133°F/56°C for 15 minutes makes the tails just-cooked, which is the way they should be (in my opinion). By cooking it for longer at a lower temperature than you would if you boiled it, you’re able to get a less rubbery texture, and definitely no dryness.
Butter-Poached Lobster Tails
- 4 lobster tails, speared with a knife or skewer
- 8 tablespoons/113 g unsalted butter, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat a sous vide water bath to 133°F/56°C.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Submerge the speared lobster tails in the boiling water and remove the pot from the heat immediately. Leave the lobster tails in the water for 2 minutes, then remove and immediately submerge in an ice bath. With scissors, carefully remove the lobster shells.
- Combine 4 tablespoons/56 g of the butter, garlic, and salt in a skillet over medium heat. Heat until the butter has browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
- Seal the peeled lobster tails in vacuum-seal bags, one per bag, with the butter-garlic mixture. Cook in the preheated water bath for 15 minutes.
- A few minutes before the sous vide cooking is complete, heat a skillet over medium heat and brown the remaining 4 tablespoons/56 g of butter. When the lobster has finished cooking sous vide, cut open the bag and pour the liquid contents from it into the skillet. Stir to combine, and then transfer the sauce to a sauceboat, small bowl, or any container that will allow you to pour the sauce reasonably accurately over the tail.
- Carefully transfer the tails to serving plates, and pour the butter sauce over the top.
Header image by Christina Wylie.