What are your thoughts on cooking w/ fresh herbs?

Yo gang!

I usually keep it simple with just a bit of black pepper and (garlic) salt. But I know fresh herbs like thyme with steaks is a very popular thing. Does it make much of a difference in terms of flavor? Keep it? Go without it?


Vegetable matter breaks down around 80C/176F. Proteins tend to be cooked between 53C/127F and 65C/143F. Doesn’t seem a great deal of point to me.

There’s some small amount of herb flavour added to the purge, but I tend to add that when I’m making a sauce on the stove top. I feel more in control of the flavour profile that way.

Herbs in the cooking bag do make for prettier photos, though.

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I am with @Ember on this one. I see little use in adding them to the bag. When I finish a steak with butter at the end of the sear I do like a little rosemary to flavor the butter/sauce.

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@Ember I remember you stating the vegetable vs protein breakdown awhile back - that information stuck with me. Thank you. The other day I started to think about the purpose it serves to have herbs in the bag during the cook.

I’ve seen discussion on this in other forums where other people have found it helpful for flavor during the cook, others not so much. I’d admit, I don’t cook with fresh herbs with my meats - mostly because I usually don’t have them on hand.

@john.jcb Makes sense. In your experience (if you have used herbs), is there any subtle flavors picked up at all?

I find adding aromatic herbs enhances the flavour of fish and meat, if you use enough. I try to place the items in the sealed bags to rest with the protein for a few hours to overnight before cooking.

I particularly like rosemary, thinly sliced garlic, and thyme sprigs on both sides of a steak - along with a light brushing of Asian Fish Sauce instead of salt. For tougher cuts of beef i will let them “age” for three days before cooking. The fish sauce has a tenderizing and flavour enhancing effect.

After SV cooking i discard the herbs, then pat dry before searing. Then i will top each portion with a sprinkling of the same minced herbs for service. The heated surface of the meat or fish releases the herbs’ aroma.

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I perfectly agree with the above comment. Fresh herbs are always amazing in flavor and lets not firget its nutritional elements over history. I have them all in my garden, therefore i can’t think of not using them. For those who don’t have it, maybe is worth if used with tough cuts, where the jiuce that comes out will be used for the sauce. You can’t deny that the herbs have released its oils!

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The fish sauce does give beef an umami boost, but as for tenderising the only impact it has is on the brain, ie) You think its going to be more tender so it is. It simply can’t penetrate deep enough to have any kind of impact on tenderness. The salt in the fish sauce can penetrate the cellular structure of the meat, but the rest will hang around on the surface and possibly just below.

But, the umami boost fish sauce gives to beef is certainly amazing. You can smell the difference as soon as you open the cooking bag. The untreated beef has very little smell. The beef treated with fish sauce is like being hit in the face with a steak. :slight_smile: That aroma enhancement hangs around through the sear and because most of what we experience as taste is generated by smell it positively dances on the tongue.

In my experience, I’ve found that it depends on the herb and the quantity,

Dainty sprigs that look good in photos don’t do much if anything. Big ugly handfuls will impart flavors. These flavors will impart regardless of if the cook temp for vegetables is ever reached.

Ember, I don’t often look forward to being hit in the face with a steak, but thank you. And i do agree to the mind-over-matter factor in the culinary arts and often employ it.

Fish sauce adds substantial deliciousness to an inside blade steak or roast that results in a tenderloin-like texture outcome. I recall that in Modernist Cuisine Nathan Myhrvold recommended fish sauce on beef as a tenderizing element because it increases the natural enzyme activity that ages meat, aka, controlled rotting. I could be wrong, - often am, but i find fish sauce on tougher cuts of meat is helpful, along with a little lo-Na soy sauce too.

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I can live with that. In fact I had been wondering about the enzymatic content of the fermented fish juice. But even so, I wonder how far it can progress through the muscle in the 3 to 5 days that people tend to recommend.

Not that it matters as long as it tastes good,