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Sous Vide Fish - Questions


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When do you start counting the time in sous vide cooking?

- when you first put the plastic bag into the heated water? Or,

- when the heated water comes back to the desired temperature?

 

I have a 7 quart slow cooker with an Auber instruments controller. There is nothing to circulate the water, but it has never proved to be a problem for me before.

 

Sous vide fish is a new activity for me. After much research I planned 119F for 20 minutes, though in future I'll try one degree lower each time.

 

My first experiment was salmon tail and it was the most delightful salmon I have ever eaten. Water heated to 119F. Added marinaded fish in a ziplock-type bag which had been removed from the fridge not long before, and I used the sous vide water to push the air out of the ziplock bag. Temp dropped enormously (but I don't recall exactly) and it took 15-20 minutes to get back up to 119F. Then I cooked for 20 further minutes.

 

Second experiment was salmon tail and it was as boring as I usually find salmon. I took the marinaded fish out of the fridge 1 hour or 1 1/2 hour before it went into the sous vide pot. I used lukewarm water in bowl in sink to remove air from ziplock. When the fish was dropped in, the temp dropped to 113F. I was not as anxious watching the temp rise this time, so I didn't check it every few minutes. Somehow the water got up to 124F.

 

In both these cases I used a soup bowl in the sous vide pot to hold the fish under water.

 

So, short of buying some new sous vide equipment, could you advise me about things I could do to minimize the temperature drop and maximize my control over the fish.

Edited by Smithy
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32 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

For safe cooking times, I rely on Baldwin's tables, almost all of which assume the product is starting at 41 deg F (5 deg C), or refrigerator temp and time starts when the bag goes in the water.

I am just curious. Anyone ever had the temperature drop precipitously and then take 15-20 minutes to recover as the OP reported?  I find that quite alarming. It must make a huge difference in the end product for short cooking times. No?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I have a Sous Vide Supreme as well as an Anova. The SVS has  no circulator and holds , I guess, 3 gallons. I've never seen more than a couple degree drop with a big chunk of meat and it recovers pretty quickly. Of course the lack of a circulator may make the thermometer not see how cool the water around the meat is. 

 

My suspicion is that you need something that controls temp better (that peak at 124!) and probably a circulator too.

 

For a short cook like that you could even use a beer cooler and tap water that you adjust for temp occasionally.

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I like the idea of using a kettle to heat the water back up.

 

I just did a several days long test of the controller which was quite accurate. I'm not sure about the 124F either!

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It sounds like the slow cooker really isn't up to the task, at least for relatively short cooks. I'm surprised by this; it shouldn't take much power to get the water back up to temperature in a few minutes. Manually intervening as others have suggested is probably a good idea.

 

In general, though, a temperature drop in the beginning will make very little difference to your overall cooking time. At the start of cooking, the temperature difference between the food and the water bath will be very high, even if the bath temperature has dropped many degrees. So the food's temperature will rise quickly. It really only matters that you the bath temperature is exact during the final several minutes of cooking. This is assuming relatively quick cooks of food that doesn't need to be tenderized. 

 

If you look at a time/temperature graph of the center food in a water bath, you'll see it rise very quickly to within a few degrees of the final temperature. Then the curve flattens out as it gets to within the final degree. That last degree can take a very long time (which is why it's usually best to set the bath temperature a degree higher than your actual food target temperature). I go into some detail on this here

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Thanks @paulraphael, I have the SousVide Dash app but I don't have much experience using it. I see I'll have to do my homework!

 

Tonight I heated the water to 118F. Added the bagged salmon and some boiling water. Thought that I added too much hot water, so I added some cold. Thought I added too much cold, so poured in some more hot. Temp settled down to about 116F, eventually getting back to 118F. Cooked the bag for 22 minutes.

 

Just divine.

 

Now I have some halibut to try. And some spot prawns. The halibut is over 1" thick so I'll have to adjust my ideas a bit. Any ideas about time and temp?

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Why not take the temperature higher to compensate for the drop when the product is added? Then adjust to your cooking temperature. This would remove all of the variables you are trying to control.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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I would recommend Anova. I am more used to using the Polysci, and we used to load baths up with 20 pounds of meat and then have hot water to add, just in case. In addition, if the bath was really big, we would have two circulators. 

 

It really depends on the amount of product. I would make sure to get an actual circulator that is temperature regulated. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot.

"Sense Of Urgency" -Thomas Keller

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  • 10 months later...

Host's note: in this post, which was moved from another topic that provided context, "SVE" refers to the YouTube series "Sous Vide Everything".

 

I was surprised when SVE started to do Fish.

 

then I realized they Fish themselves

 

tilapiais not a fish I enjoy

 

but I tried it a la SVE and it improved remarkably 

 

from Fz.

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22 minutes ago, rotuts said:

I was surprised when SVE started to do Fish.

 

then I realized they Fish themselves

 

tilapiais not a fish I enjoy

 

but I tried it a la SVE and it improved remarkably 

 

from Fz.

Thanks for this. I am quite a fan of tilapia unless I get really muddy piece which happens a lot less than it did at one time. Must see about the availability of frozen tilapia.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

Thanks for this. I am quite a fan of tilapia unless I get really muddy piece which happens a lot less than it did at one time. Must see about the availability of frozen tilapia.

 

 

Thanks from me as well.  We do a fair amount of talapia because it's readily available frozen at the grocery stores we frequent.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I prefer stronger-tasting fish such as salmon, but my husband doesn't.  After a while I run out of ideas for the mild fish.  Maybe the Sous Vide Everything site will have a new twist that we like.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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5 minutes ago, weedy said:

I'm not convinced tilapia is an edible fish :/

 Then best you shouldn’t eat it. :)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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@weedy 

 

I agree with you

 

however , the fish Id like to eat every day 

 

Salmon and Sand dabs etc from Cook's Seafood

 

in Menlo Park , CA

 

one town over from where I grew up

 

is hard to fine in MA

 

there are some large Fish Stores

 

even one , one town over that understand what they don't sell

 

they cook in their Lunch and Dinner '' restaurant '

 

same as Cook's

 

however , their salmon is stunningly expensive , and not fresh

 

so  Im left w TJ's frozen

 

as long as the packed has not been cracked

 

and many oare

 

I lest w OK fish as best

 

SV these has a tiny bit of potential

 

not enough to Swoon Over

 

Id wsay

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I'm with Dave Arnold on tilapia. He has some epic rants on it. I can't find my favorite one, where he calls tilapia swimming garbage that tastes like garbage because it lives in and eats nothing but garbage. But I remember vividly where someone wrote into Cooking Issues asking for a substitute for tilapia, and his response was : "Have you tried using dirt?" . In another episode, he joked that his New Year's Resolution was to get other people to stop eating tilapia. Because "there's got to be some other crap fish that they can grow in its own filth for almost no money that tastes better. There's got to be something."

 

For any given application, there are 15 other fish I'd rather use first, and if tilapia was the only available option, I'd cook chicken instead.

My pro-tip for tilapia, apart from not cooking it at all, is to heap mounds of spice and gallons of acid on it. Tilapia either tastes like nothing at all or it tastes like dirt. Actually, to be fair... tilapia themselves only taste like nothing. The dirty taste is caused by cyanobacteria that breed in the fish's environment and secrete nasty flavor compounds that get uptaken by the fish. Mmm mmm good. Anyway, the "blast it with cayenne, cumin, lime juice and vinegar" strategy solves both the "tilapia tastes like nothing" problem and the "tilapia tastes like dirt" problem.

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""  15 other fish I'd rather use first ""

 

me to 

 

maybe 19 ?

 

but Im not a muti millionaire 

 

and that's what it cost these days

 

to get those 19 fish

 

not frozen

 

that have not aroma what so ever.

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As someone smart once said; 'you want to avoid anyplace with a sign saying Discount Sushi'

 

that principle applies to all fresh fish. 

 

But lemon sole (or flounder) is relatively inexpensive (although not 'tilapia cheap' but that's because it's edible)

 

personally i I stick to tuna and halibut and snapper and striped bass and occasionally mahi mahi or barramundi when available. But I know I'm going to PAY for it. 

 

Tuna  and halibut are both about $30 a pound locally. 

But worth it. 

 

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1 hour ago, weedy said:

As someone smart once said; 'you want to avoid anyplace with a sign saying Discount Sushi'

 

that principle applies to all fresh fish. 

 

But lemon sole (or flounder) is relatively inexpensive (although not 'tilapia cheap' but that's because it's edible)

 

personally i I stick to tuna and halibut and snapper and striped bass and occasionally mahi mahi or barramundi when available. But I know I'm going to PAY for it. 

 

Tuna  and halibut are both about $30 a pound locally. 

But worth it. 

 

 

How do you prepare your halibut SV?

 

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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

How do you prepare your halibut SV?

 

 

TLDR: 110F for 40 minutes; unbag; hard sear.

 

Long, fancy version involving duck bacon: Remove the skin. Dust with Activa RM and apply duck bacon. Vacuum seal and press overnight. Unbag and trim filets into portions. Immediately fry up any trimmings in butter or bacon fat and consume post haste. Rebag portioned filets and cook SV for 40 minutes. Unbag. Sear. Serve however. 

 

SV halibut+duck bacon "2 ways" - (1) hazelnut romesco with braised endive;  (2) squash/tomato with orange and lemon vinaigrettes and chive/cilantro oil.

 

Fish+bacon+meat glue:

halibut_raw_mat.thumb.jpg.d9eb3033748d8063b730bfc60c22a368.jpg

 

Glued, trimmed, and ready to portion. You know dem scraps were good, ya'll.

 

halibut_square.thumb.jpg.e150509e2c6ea08d1df0613899f63d74.jpg

 

Plate:

 

halibut.thumb.jpg.49099a80e079d0f9d07586182804e04f.jpg

 

Under no circumstances are you to substitute tilapia.

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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

How do you prepare your halibut SV?

 

 

I more often do it in a pan...

 

but when I do SV: i seal it with a touch of butter or oil, 129F for about an hour. then crust  (corn starch or spices or ground nuts or panko, etc) on one side and quick sear.

 

 

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Just now, weedy said:

 

I more often do it in a pan...

 

but when I do SV: i seal it with a touch of butter or oil, 129F for about an hour. then crust  (corn starch or spices or ground nuts or panko, etc) on one side and quick sear.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

Amazon is a good source of halibut for me.

 

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