I got my Anova about 36 hours ago. First thing I cooked? A 2in thick, 28 day dry aged NY Strip seasoned with Hickory Smoked salt, Red/White/Black/Green ground pepper and some fresh thyme. Cooked for 3 hours @ 125F and seared with a heat gun. It was very very good, though I've had sous vide steaks before, and some crazy long dry aged steaks, and more than my share of Wagyu, so while it was better than 95% of all steaks I've eaten in my life, it probably won't get a frame in the retrospective that is supposed to flash before my eyes at the final moments, just sayin'. Though I was not, by any means disappointed in the result, and I do think this first cook was every bit as good as I could have expected this protein itself to produce. I mean this is kind of the ubiquitous first cook and by all counts a predictable success.
While my first cook was something pretty much everyone with a circulator has done countless times, my 2nd cook, which I just ate a few hours ago, I've not seen anyone do, so lots of questions whether it would work at all. Butter Poached Salmon. I made a Beurre Monte on the stove top, which is liquefied butter not to be confused with melted butter, it's generally what you use as the poaching medium for butter poached lobster. The idea of this is to start with a small amount of water brought to a boil and then reduce heat and add butter, wisking constantly, at low heat to keep the butter from separating like a simply melted butter does. What you end up with is butter that does not separate into solids and oils.
Anyway, I started with lemon juice instead of water, which I've never seen done, but hey it's mostly water so, why not? Worked just fine, half a lb. of cultured French butter, seasoned it with saffron, turmeric and dill, this was going to be my poaching medium for a salmon steak, mid body cut, about 2in thick, and just shy of 1lb in weight. Poached it for 45min @ 120F. While it was cooking I used the little bit left of the Beurre Monte in the pot I made it in to make some dill Basmati rice to go with it, trying to keep this simple, well -ish.
It was pretty awesome, and yes I do mean that literally as in awe inspiring. It was, to my taste, perfectly, and by that I mean; just into the flakey stage, cooked. It cut simply by the weight of the fork, the skin reacted equally to a table knife, and yet it was not mush, at all. I don't know how to describe it other than effortlessly flaky and logic defyingly moist. It might seem to some, to be too early or not done enough to be comforting and familiar, but this is sous vide, that isn't the goal here, not for me at least. If all I've achieved is something that is like something else than I didn't need a circulator to do that. It was cooked evenly throughout and had made the transition from raw fish flesh to a cooked product and I only make the comments above because a casual, non-foodie diner, may find what I made too unfamiliar to accept. I will say this method brought so much flavor back to the farm raised Atlantic salmon, though I am now very eager to try this on Wild Sockeye, which is a whole other level in taste but also a very tough fish to not get dry and tough.
Tomorrow; a nice thick Veal Loin Chop, with maybe Octopus this weekend, something I've eaten that was prepared amazingly twice and a rubbery disaster more times than I can count.