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Cuisine

Sous vide or not sous vide, that’s the question

7/27/17 | By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

Oscar Wilde once wrote that life imitates art far more than art imitates life, a sound reversal of Aristotle’s millennia-old tenet. Standard irreverence on the part of Wilde, his simple statement (a part of a much grander piece) holds such a profound meaning for me this evening.

Fiction is a powerful tool, and in the original sense of this idiom it is simple to grasp that art is merely a representation of our surroundings. Bob Ross’ paintings of happy trees were certainly the blissful flora that he personally saw in the mountains. He merely managed to make it look easy and make us contented just watching him.

In the present age, everyone is an “artist” with their cellphones, many of which have as high a resolution as some respectable DSLRs. What once was a snapshot that would have taken considerable time in post-production is now computer-generated and an unappreciated gift to the phone-artist who really hasn’t done anything, but take a picture after clicking a certain button, but I ramble. And before you think that I’m being elitist, I do this myself; I fall into this category, so I am not judging anyone without at least looking in the mirror.

So what did Wilde mean when he wrote this phrase? To me, if I could grab that saying and plop it in the modern world, it is telling me that we are so overburdened and encumbered with sensational inputs from social, televised and print media, that we are pretty much told what to do. And we don’t realize it.

The marketing prowess of the big players is unprecedented, and they pretty much can dictate what we should wear, the watches we should buy, the foods we should eat, the lifestyles we should lead et al. Food is no different, and if you study the trends as they present themselves, they typically begin on the coast. “As goes California, so goes the nation” as the saying goes.

Are we just trying to keep up with what we see on cooking shows or in those 60-second online videos? Are we merely going to be lemmings as we march along to the beat of the advertisers as they peddle their wares through their crafty art? Or are we going to take a stand?

Well, I for one am just going to make a sandwich. There, that wasn’t too hard; well, except for the sous vide part. Now, you may not be a pro at sous vide yet, but with a little research you will get there in no time. And when you arrive, you will have the best turkey sandwich that you’ve ever had.

But then I guess life will be imitating the art of the sale, in that you will have to buy an immersion circulator. But you can’t win them all.

Roasted Turkey Sandwich

Enough for 4 sandwiches plus leftovers

1 sous vide turkey breast (recipe follows)

8 slices multi-grain bread

Lettuce, as needed

Fresh tomato, as needed

1 Soft avocado

Juice of 1 lime wedge

4 slices Sharp cheddar cheese

Fresh mayonnaise

1. Thinly slice the cooked turkey breast, making sure that you have at least five ounces per person

2. Mash avocado slightly and toss with the lime juice to keep it from browning

3. Make a basic mayonnaise recipe

4. After making said mayo, make your sandwich just like you would make any other sandwich

Sous Vide Turkey Breast

1 raw turkey breast

1 tsp. Poultry seasoning

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 black peppercorns

Salt, as needed

1. Before you dive into sous vide cooking, immerse yourself (Ha! I slay me!) in some serious studies about the topic. It’s not hard, but you need to understand basic concepts

2. Heat your water bath to 152 F and ensure that you have enough water so that it won’t lose too much temperature when you put the turkey in

3. Rub the turkey with the poultry seasoning and place the breast in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag with the remaining ingredients

4. Slowly immerse the bag into the water bath, allowing the water pressure to squeeze out any air

5. Zip the bag closed, making sure that you have left one little space open so that the remaining air can escape

6. Clip to the side of your water bath

7. Allow to cook for anywhere from 2-2 ½ hours. Here is where things will get technical, and you will need some way to check the internal temperature of the turkey

8. The key to this recipe is to get the core of the breast to 150F for 4 minutes, as opposed to the traditional 165F for 15 seconds. It still kills the pathogens; it just takes longer to do it

9. When the core temperature has been reached and maintained for the appropriate amount of time, remove the breast from the water bath and sear to get some browning on the skin and some good roasted flavor

10. You can cool it down in the icebox, or put it back in the bag that has the garlic, thyme, seasonings and juices and cool it in there

11. If you choose the latter, immediately shock in a large ice bath. This is a critical step if you intend to keep the bag sealed.

12. When the breast has properly cooled, keep chilled until ready to use 

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