Cooking different fish at the same time

What happens if I cook salmon and halibut together in one bath? The time and cooking temperature are slightly different in the recipes .

Elena, What happens? Select one recipe. Both the salmon and halibut will cook at the temperature you select. Their finished texture will depend on the temperature you select.

If the halibut and salmon are of significantly different thickness you will have to adjust respective cooking times.

Chatnoir, thank you for response! I looked at all recepies. for salmon cooking temperature is from 40.5 to 50 and time from30 o 45 min
For halibut temp is from 48.8 to 55.6 ant time from30 to 45 min.
If I put them together in one bath, what temp and time should I use?
It’s my first time using SV.
Thank you again!

Brave Elena, why would you pick such a challenging cook for your first effort?

Never mind that.
I suggest putting all the fish in your freezer until you come to an understanding of the fundamentals of the sous vide cooking technique. Why not start with something you enjoy, but is simple and forgiving?
Maybe chicken breasts or pork chops?

If you want to persist in your seafood adventure, why not select a temperature that’s where the two recipes’ temperatures overlap? That would be reasonable and somewhere in the middle won’t do much harm to either of the fish in those short recommended cooking times.

You don’t reveal the thickness of the fish you plan to cook. I hope they are similar just to make your life less complex.
May i suggest you consider your new Sous Vide Cooking Rule #1 to be that cooking times are based on the thickness of the food to be cooked?
I know, this is not what you have been doing.
That’s why it is your new rule.

What do the recipes inform you?
You may have noticed that there is a 50% difference in the longer cooking time to the shorter. That’s to allow for variations in the thickness of your fish.

Your next decision is cooking temperature. In general, and particularly for fish, the higher the temperature the firmer your cooked product will be. Some people like their salmon melt-in-the-mouth soft and tender while others prefer solid and flaking apart. It’s all up to your sensory expectations. You are in complete control with your new cooking technique.

The halibut is a large wild caught ocean fish that gets lots of exercise so it will be more solid than the salmon that’s considerably smaller and most likely raised in a pen or pond where it got little or no vigorous exercise. Those differences account for the different cooking times and temperatures you discovered.

To make your culinary life a little easier i recommend you maintain a cooking journal. Get a bound book and keep it in your kitchen. Record every cook by product, size ( usually thickness), temperature, and length of time. One last detail, - the outcome. Was is amazing?
If not, note what you might do next time to achieve a better result.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions, - particularly when it comes from yourself. By recording each cooking experience you will be tailoring your cooking techniques precisely to your tastes.
You are the only expert on Elena, so only rely on recipes as starting points.

2 Likes

Hi Frank (I hope I got your name righ) thank you so much for so deleted response! I didn’t really thought about thickness, so you are right it’s different. The halibut is thicker. Unfortunately I cannot put it in the freezer for later, we have family dinner and a dietary restrictions , so it has to be fish. But it’s ok, I have to start somewhere, I don’t expect it perfect from the start. Genius idea about the journal!
Thank you again! If I understand correctly, with lower temperature texture will be more tender, what about cooking time? If I over cook it, would it be firmer? I’ll try on low overlapping temperature, should I take the salmon out few minutes earlier? I’ll give you a full report about my challenge, maybe it will help somebody else too.

It turned out great! Everybody loved it! I cooked both salmon( still head farmed) 2 medium filet in cut portions and whole peace halibut on 115F for 45 min, left halibut in for 11 additional min. Melt in the mouth texture! I didn’t do finish sear part, it was good enough without.

Congratulations Elena!

You did right by trusting your good judgement and extending the cook time for the halibut. I hope you remember the approximate thickness of the filets so they can be your first two detailed journal entries. Don’t forget to include your, “Everybody loved it!” comment. Your feedback , and that of your guests, is always an essential detail for every cook.

You are off to a great start and have already successfully demonstrated your eagerness to break with conventional cooking, something a lot of users struggle with.

I don’t think most fish benefits from searing, particularly as you obviously enjoy its delicate texture. It’s too easy to spoil it with extreme heat.

Generally, temperature determines texture and lower will be softer, but only to a point. Meat usually has to be cooked to some degree and that varies with the item. Beef and pork require significantly higher temperatures than fish. The dark meat of chicken benefits from higher temperatures than white meat.

When the current glow of yesterday’s success wears off a little it will be time to learn more. For dependable recipes i recommend the following site:


Select “Techniques”, then “Sous Vide”.
Kenji has a useful combination of practical experience as a chef and his MIT graduate degree in science.

You might well benefit from somewhat more scientific background information, then there’s the following site:
www.douglasbaldwin.com
Use his detailed technical information as a reference guide for just about anything you want to cook SV without a recipe which i suspect there’s already ample evidence you are ready for.

Happy cooking.

1 Like

Thank you, Frank, for your encouragement and holding my hand through this first experiment! Thank you for those links, it’s amazingly useful. I cannot wait to try another recipe!

My pleasure.

Do well.

1 Like

Congratulations Elena. You’re off to a flying start. And have one of the best coaches available in Frank.

Just a little bit of information further to Frank’s wise words.

Fish handles a little differently to other proteins. As Frank said, with fish the temperature helps select the texture of the finished product.

With other animal proteins we tend to say that temperature selects the ‘done-ness’ of the product (rare, med-rare, etc) and time gives the texture as it allows for collagen breakdown.

Also the reason why thickness matters. It’s about heat penetration and the amount of time it takes for the temperature to get to the centre of the protein, or temperature equilibrium between the product and the water. With fish, you really don’t need to cook for much longer than the equilibrium, but can usually hold it at temperature for a while without any real detrimental impact. Other proteins can require much longer, but are also more forgiving with regard to spending extra time in the water bath.

Once again, congratulations on the first step and I hope you enjoy the adventure ahead.

1 Like

Thank you, Ember! Very appreciate your input and encouragement. I am so glad I joined this community of SV enthusiasts! I feel so supported, it is so important when you starting something new.
I am planning to go on keto diet in 1? week. Any tips and recommendations?

No chips with the fish. :wink:

1 Like