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Chez56

Shellfish cooked sous vide

11 posts in this topic

Has anyone tried to Sous vide live shellfish in a broth etc? I know that you would have to pull a lesser vacuum on this to allow the shells to open, I was thinking probably in the range of 50% to 60% and you would have to sous vide immediately to avoid suffucation of the shellfish, but you could possibly hold a couple hours for pick up at lower temp. I am thinking about possibly clams or mussels. Would love to know if anyone has tried this.

Thank you

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haven't tried...

but I'm not sure I see what the advantage would be, given that cooking clams over high heat takes about 1-2 minutes

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haven't tried...

but I'm not sure I see what the advantage would be, given that cooking clams over high heat takes about 1-2 minutes

I vacuumed sealed some scallops and SV them prior to cold smoking. But your right there is little advantage

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Ive done lobster and shrimp SV with very good results. I thought of doing clams a few years ago but decided not to try with the idea that the clams probably wont open in a low heat. Then theres also the idea of bacteria growth if the shell prevents the clam from reaching pastuerization temps.

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Tried 3 approaches tonight Mussels in a curry broth, with 70% vacuum, 60%, & 50% vacuum. I bagged and sousvideed immediately in  200 degrees F for 15 mins. They all opened up in the bags tried the 50% and the 70% tasted great, plump & full of flavor. The 50% allowed more room for expansion of the shells. I ice bathed the 60% and it immediatel shrunk back down and the shells looked like they had not opened at all. I am going to try a reheat tomorrow in about 200f and see how they held up.

(Weedy )Cooking over high heat also dries out the shellfish, especially if you are preoccupied with other things going on at the time so they can get overcooked. this was a great way to retain all those natural juices.

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Good to know they open up. But 200F is way too high to make SV worthwhile. I use an electric steamer with a drip catch to collect all the juices if im reserving them for a dish like lemon butter clams for example.

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Good to know they open up. But 200F is way too high to make SV worthwhile. I use an electric steamer with a drip catch to collect all the juices if im reserving them for a dish like lemon butter clams for example.

 

I don't know about shellfish in the shell, but try scallops in 50C/122F bath for 30 to 90 minutes (depending on size). lightly brine first and sear afterwards.

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Modernist Cuisine approach to sous-vide mussels and clams consists of bagging them, hot steam them for a minute for easier opening (I increase this to 1 1/2 or 2 minutes), open bag, collect all bag juices, open the shells (I do this with an oyster knife) on a bowl, collect the juices that fell on the bowl while opening, then re-bag the bodies with the juices and cook them at a low temperature.

 

I always though this was too much work to be worthwhile, but then I tried and the result is pretty good. I specially like the pure clam juice that you get. Very different from what you get when opening on a pan, much fresher. There has been no evaporation, no mixing with the oil or the little water you put in the pan. Wonderful taste, and the clams cooked to perfection. Not for everyday but an interesting technique for some dishes. I like this more with clams than with mussels.

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Modernist Cuisine approach to sous-vide mussels and clams consists of bagging them, hot steam them for a minute for easier opening (I increase this to 1 1/2 or 2 minutes), open bag, collect all bag juices, open the shells (I do this with an oyster knife) on a bowl, collect the juices that fell on the bowl while opening, then re-bag the bodies with the juices and cook them at a low temperature.

 

I always though this was too much work to be worthwhile, but then I tried and the result is pretty good. I specially like the pure clam juice that you get. Very different from what you get when opening on a pan, much fresher. There has been no evaporation, no mixing with the oil or the little water you put in the pan. Wonderful taste, and the clams cooked to perfection. Not for everyday but an interesting technique for some dishes. I like this more with clams than with mussels.

What differences do you see with clams vs. mussels? I'm interested because I generally prefer the latter (but haven't tried either S.V.)

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What differences do you see with clams vs. mussels? I'm interested because I generally prefer the latter (but haven't tried either S.V.)

 

I generally prefer the former, so the differences likely just boiled down to my individual preference and the different quality of the ingredients I used in the tests. The sides of bodies of the mussels were a bit harder to remove from the shells, but I don't know if this happens in general or was specific to my batch.

 

In any case both were good if you are interested in using the pure juice (which I served on the side, in a small glass with just some drops of lime juice) and perfect barely cooked bodies. Otherwise it's too much work.

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Modernist Cuisine approach to sous-vide mussels and clams consists of bagging them, hot steam them for a minute for easier opening (I increase this to 1 1/2 or 2 minutes), open bag, collect all bag juices, open the shells (I do this with an oyster knife) on a bowl, collect the juices that fell on the bowl while opening, then re-bag the bodies with the juices and cook them at a low temperature.

 

I always though this was too much work to be worthwhile, but then I tried and the result is pretty good. I specially like the pure clam juice that you get. Very different from what you get when opening on a pan, much fresher. There has been no evaporation, no mixing with the oil or the little water you put in the pan. Wonderful taste, and the clams cooked to perfection. Not for everyday but an interesting technique for some dishes. I like this more with clams than with mussels.

 

Spot on, EnriqueB. You beat us to this. Chez56, let us know if you're looking for cook times and temps for a  specific ingredient. If you already own a copy of Modernst Cuisine, you can find all of our recommendations for cooking fish and shellfish sous vide in the parametric tables in Volume 3, pages 102-103. 


Caren Palevitz

Online Writer for Modernist Cuisine

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