Summer and Sous Vide: The Perfect Pair

Summer is the perfect time to host guests. It’s the time of year when vitamin D is plentiful and everyone is just that little bit more pleasant to be around. Not only that, the seasonal warm weather means longer nights with which to enjoy a nice family meal on the deck, or perhaps a weekend get together with some friends in the backyard.

If you’re the entertaining type, then you might consider some of the most perfectly prepared meals to add to your menu. A cooking technique that’s simpler than it’s name suggests, sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) can be used to create dishes like beef tenderloin and tri-tip with cilantro butter. What’s great about sous vide is that the technique can be applied to practically all foods – proteins, vegetables and even dessert. But no meal is complete without the perfect beverage pairing. Since one of our specialties at Calvetti Culinary Creations is sous vide cooking, we’re offering advice on pairing this superior dining experience with a prime wine, so you can stand out as the ultimate entertainer.

The taste of chicken is hit or miss to many who consume it. Complaints of dryness or blandness aren’t uncommon, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Temperature control during the cooking of poultry is the key. When done correctly, cooking sous vide style produces tender, juicy meat, that cannot be compared. One reason for chicken’s popularity is that it can be combined with a variety of other food and is flexible with beverage pairings too.

We advise that if you’ve gone to the effort of creating a supreme meal with sous vide cooking and you’ve produced a meal that does not compare to the basic roast chicken of the past, you need to look beyond just the chicken itself and pair your meal with something bold. If you’re biased towards white white, try a citrusy Riesling. For red lovers, try a jammy Pinot Noir or a slightly chilled Beaujolais; they’re good picks for the backyard dining scene and their sweetness will match the intense flavor of the chicken.

Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin is the most tender cut of meat on the hog. However, it can also be the most mildly flavored, to the point of being bland, if not cooked appropriately. It’s also very lean, which makes it difficult to cook evenly—lean meat conducts heat faster than fatty meat, which leads to a greater chance of overcooking. Moreover, because of its leanness, overcooked tenderloin is particularly unforgiving: dry, chalky, and tough to swallow. Cooking sous vide solves both of these problems. Flavor-wise, it’s easy to add aromatics or spices to the sous vide bag along with the beef, building that flavor right into the meat. (You can reinforce the flavor with more aromatics when you subsequently sear the tenderloin.) As for texture, with sous vide cooking, overcooked meat is a thing of the past. Sous vide allows for perfectly even, edge-to-center cooking with complete control, whether you like your beef pink or brown.

So what can we pair this delicacy with, to complete the meal? Beef tenderloin cooked to perfection via sous vide style, is richer than other red meats. Because of this, it is delicious served with a younger or more tannic Barbera or Cabernet-based wine, or a more robust Merlot, Bordeaux, or Bordeaux-style blend.

Yes, you heard it here first. You can cook salmon using the sous vide method and it’sdelicious. If you want to create a moist, tender, flaky and perfectly cooked piece of fish, sous vide salmon is it.  An added benefit of cooking salmon (and other fish) using sous vide style, is that it helps greatly reduce that curd-like stuff that comes out during cooking. The white stuff that is being pushed out of salmon is called albumin.America’s Test Kitchen found that most of albumin is pushed out when fish is smoked, canned or poached. It has been recently discovered that all you have to do to reduce the unsightly white layer of albumin that appears on the surface during cooking, is brine the fish. Ten minutes in a 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water brine is enough to minimize the effect. So once you’ve prepared your salmon, brined it, cooked it using the sous vide method and seared it to a perfect delicacy, how do you complete the experience? What you pair with salmon often depends on how you have prepared and cooked the dish. “The size and weight of the wine should match the richness and intensity of food,” says Erik Liedholm, wine director and partner with John Howie Restaurants in Seattle. “Grilling creates a char that goes with a New World Syrah or cooler-climate Zin. With poached salmon, a rich Chardonnay can be wonderful.” So how must you present the ultimate sous vide salmon dining experience? Paired with Pinot Noir, sous vide salmon revolutionizes your dinner indulgences and you’ll be crowned a culinary artist.

Whether you’r entertainment goals are for home dinner parties or airline passengers this season, revolutionize your guests’ dining experiences with a complimentary beverage pairing to perfect the occasion, and we guarantee your guests will return for seconds.

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