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Sous Vide Halibut


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Rico

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:04 AM

I've got a dinner party this weekend, and there's a recipe for a poached halibut with warm vinaigrette such-and-such (the vinaigrette part's not that important). The thing is this: I've got a bunch of courses, and was wondering if I could convert this particular recipe into a sous-vide approach by sealing the halibut in with the court bouillon and keeping it in the SV.

The potential issues I'd have are this:

1. I believe 130 is too high for halibut, right? But It's no good to keep it at temperatures below that for extended periods, correct? Would a good solution be to just pre-seal them and then drop them in after the first course or so?

2. To what degree would an extended time in the court bouillon negatively affect the fish? A poaching time of 6 or 7 minutes is obviously a lot shorter than the time it would spend sealed in the bag. It's a pretty standard court boullion: water, aromatics, boquet garni, wine and salt.

I'm sure there are aspects I haven't considered, but all that to say, any help would be very ... helpful (hat tip to Graham Chapman).

#2 slkinsey

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:39 AM

With something like fish, you still don't want to leave it at temperature for a long time. It's not like, say, a steak where leaving it at temperature for an extra hour won't have much of a negative effect, With fish, it would certainly have a negative effect. Which is to say that, while sous vide cooking would certainly make some aspects of preparing the halibut easier, you are still going to have to keep your eye on the timer so that you can pull it out and serve it at the right time.

I can't think of any negative effects of the court bouillon. Although my inclination would be to reduce the court bouillon by quite a bit, freeze it into cubes and bag each piece of fish with a cube of court bouillon. There's really no reason to have more liquid in the bag than it takes to surround the fish. I would also recommend leaving out the salt if the fish is going to be sitting in the bag with the court bouillon, as lengthy contact with salt will have a "curing" effect on the fish.
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#3 Baselerd

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

I think between 110-120F should be good, 120F obviously being firmer and more flakey. When cooking tender fish, you usually just want to heat to a core temp, not hold. Usually this means no more than 30 minutes or so. But remember to only serve it this way if you would serve it uncooked.

#4 ScottyBoy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:55 AM

I always do just good olive oil, 113 for 20 minutes and I've held it for up to 40 with that temp. You've got a couple days you should test, test, test. Don't be like me and get lazy then stress out because you're actually testing a new time and temp on a group instead of just yourself :blink:

Edit: This is that time/temp, shiny from the oil, almost looks raw but then it flakes and is moist as all hell. Halibut must be fresh fresh fresh and clean clean clean before in goes in the drink. You know that though.

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Edited by ScottyBoy, 12 December 2012 - 08:58 AM.

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#5 Rico

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:07 PM

Okay, so assuming I do the frozen bouillon cube (brilliant idea, by the way) sans salt, then 113 for 30 mins should do it, correct? With a touch of salt after removal? Scottyboy, I would do the olive oil, but I want to stay as true to the original recipe as possible (yes, while changing the entire technique. My rules are arbitrary and illogical), at least this time.

But will mine still look like yours? Because I'd like for that to happen.

(Edited because I can't spell bouillon. Or receiver, strangely enough. But the receiver part isn't relevant.)

Edited by Rico, 12 December 2012 - 05:09 PM.


#6 ScottyBoy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:44 PM

That should do it. There should be much but wipe of any of the white albumin if any to make it look nice and yes use finishing salt.

I'm gonna be straight though. I'm going off memory, I'm 90% sure that is the time and temp I use. that's why I wanted to make sure you take a test run if you're going off my info.
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#7 Todd in Chicago

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:48 PM

I always do just good olive oil, 113 for 20 minutes and I've held it for up to 40 with that temp. You've got a couple days you should test, test, test. Don't be like me and get lazy then stress out because you're actually testing a new time and temp on a group instead of just yourself :blink:

Edit: This is that time/temp, shiny from the oil, almost looks raw but then it flakes and is moist as all hell. Halibut must be fresh fresh fresh and clean clean clean before in goes in the drink. You know that though.

Posted Image

LOL!! ScottyBoy.....why do I always do that to myself! Let's see, some folks are coming over for dinner....let's try a new temp/time combo! Doh!!! :wacko: Todd in Chicago

#8 bhsimon

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:18 PM

I always do just good olive oil, 113 for 20 minutes and I've held it for up to 40 with that temp. You've got a couple days you should test, test, test. Don't be like me and get lazy then stress out because you're actually testing a new time and temp on a group instead of just yourself :blink:

Edit: This is that time/temp, shiny from the oil, almost looks raw but then it flakes and is moist as all hell. Halibut must be fresh fresh fresh and clean clean clean before in goes in the drink. You know that though.

Posted Image


Oh, damn that looks good. Nice job, ScottyBoy. I'm always hungry after reading eGullet, and photos like this are surely the reason.

#9 gfweb

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:06 AM

Fish never looks good at 7am.

Except that.

#10 ScottyBoy

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

Haha! I've done olive oil poached fish plenty of times in restaurants but I love that all you need is a couple tablespoons of oil in a SV bag for the same result. We went through gallons of oil every service, ridiculous.
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